Divorce Rates by Country in 2023

Marriage may be a universal institution, but divorce rates can vary dramatically from one country to another. Cultural, legal, and social factors all play a part in shaping these statistics.

In this article, we’ll explore the countries with the highest divorce rates and examine the underlying reasons behind these trends. Prepare to challenge your assumptions about love, commitment, and the modern world!

Factors Contributing to High Divorce Rates

Understanding the factors that contribute to high divorce rates can provide valuable insights into the complexities of relationships and their success across different cultures and societies. 

Let’s take a look into the cultural, socioeconomic, and legal aspects that influence divorce rates around the world.

  • Cultural Influences

Culture plays a significant role in the way relationships are perceived, maintained, and dissolved. Attitudes towards marriage and divorce differ across cultures, which can impact the divorce rates in each country. For instance, some societies may place a strong emphasis on the sanctity of marriage, making it less socially acceptable to divorce. On the other hand, other cultures may be more open to the concept of divorce and view it as a normal part of life, which could lead to higher divorce rates.

Additionally, the prevalence of certain practices like arranged marriages or marrying at a young age can also influence divorce rates. In societies where these practices are common, couples may find themselves incompatible over time, leading to the dissolution of their marriages.

  • Socioeconomic Factors

Socioeconomic factors play a critical role in determining the stability of a marriage. Financial difficulties, unemployment, and income disparities can create stress within a relationship, leading to conflicts and, in some cases, divorce. Furthermore, education levels can impact divorce rates, with studies suggesting that couples with higher levels of education tend to have lower rates of divorce due to better communication and problem-solving skills.

Access to resources and support systems also affects divorce rates. Couples who have limited access to mental health services, relationship counseling, or community support may struggle to resolve conflicts, leading to the breakdown of their marriages.

  • Legal Frameworks and Policies

The legal frameworks and policies of each country can also contribute to their respective divorce rates. In countries with more lenient divorce laws and processes, couples may find it easier to end their marriages, leading to higher divorce rates. Conversely, countries with more stringent divorce regulations may see lower divorce rates due to the difficulties and barriers associated with legally dissolving a marriage.

How to Calculate Divorce Rate

Calculating divorce rates can be done in different ways, but one of the easiest methods is using census data. You can get the crude divorce rate by dividing the number of divorces in a year by the total population. This rate is usually expressed as a number per 1000 people. For instance, if there were 500 divorces in a year in a nation with 100,000 people, the divorce rate would be five divorces per 1,000 residents.

10 Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates



Number of Divorces per 1,000 population



United States







































Data from the United Nations and other sources reveal that in 2020, the Maldives had the highest divorce rate globally. With 2,984 divorces among a population of 540,544, the island nation had a divorce rate of 5.52 per 1,000 people. Interestingly, this is a significant drop from the Maldives’ staggering 10.97 rate in 2002, which secured them a Guinness World Record.

What drives the high divorce rate in the Maldives? A possible explanation is the societal disapproval of physical relations outside marriage. However, both marriages and divorces are relatively easy to obtain in the country, leading to quick marriages and hassle-free divorces if the relationship doesn’t work out. Moreover, a cultural shift is underway in the Maldives, with women gaining more independence and financial stability, allowing them to leave unsatisfactory marriages.

In 2020, Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic, had the second-highest divorce rate in the world at 4.6 divorces per 1,000 people. Other countries with high divorce rates include Russia (3.9), Belgium (3.7), and Belarus (3.7). The United States ranks in a four-way tie for positions 9-12, with an annual divorce rate of 2.7 per 1,000 people. Among U.S. states, Nevada has the highest divorce rate at 14%

10 Countries with the Lowest Divorce Rates

(annually, per 1000 people)*



Number of Divorces per 1,000 population















Saint Lucia




South Africa








Saint Vincent and the Grenadines












Sri Lanka



Contrasting the high divorce rates in some countries, several nations report considerably low divorce rates. Sri Lanka holds the record for the lowest divorce rate, with 0.15 divorces per 1,000 residents. Following closely are Vietnam and Guatemala, each with a rate of 0.2 divorces per 1,000 residents. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Peru, and South Africa occupy ranks 4 to 6, and a tie at 0.7 divorces per 1,000 residents fills spots 7 to 15.

However, a low divorce rate doesn’t automatically imply happy and successful marriages within a country. In some cases, legal challenges might make obtaining a divorce more difficult, or women might be unable to leave unhealthy marriages due to concerns about their or their children’s safety, financial constraints, or limited societal opportunities. Interestingly, when examining the top six countries with the lowest divorce rates and their rankings on the United Nations’ 2019 Gender Inequality Index (GII), we find the following:

Gender Inequality Index (GII) of the 3 countries with the Lowest Divorce Rates

  • Sri Lanka: 0.401 (90th place)
  • Guatemala: 0.479 (119th place)
  • Vietnam: 0.296 (65th place)

Comparatively, all but three of the top 13 countries with the highest divorce rates ranked within the top 50 for gender equality. Thus, it’s crucial not to draw hasty conclusions about married life in a country solely based on its divorce rate.

Tips for Navigating Divorce in High Divorce Rate Countries

  • 📜  Understanding Local Laws and Regulations

Familiarize yourself with the legal landscape of the country where you’re seeking a divorce. Laws and processes can vary significantly, so it’s essential to know your rights and obligations.

  • 🤝  Seeking Professional Assistance

Enlist the help of legal and financial professionals to guide you through the process. They can offer valuable advice and ensure that your interests are protected.

  • 💰  Financial Planning and Asset Protection

Safeguard your finances and assets during a divorce by planning ahead. Consider how property division, alimony, and child support might impact your financial future.

  • 🧘‍♀️  Emotional Support and Well-being

Divorce can be emotionally challenging. Seek support from friends, family, or professional counselors to help you cope and maintain your mental health during this difficult time.

The Correlation between Marriage Rates and Divorce Rates

The divorce rate alone doesn’t provide a complete picture of how common divorces are in a given country. This is because the divorce rate represents the percentage of divorces in relation to the total population, not the total number of marriages. To gain more accurate insights, it’s helpful to consider a country’s overall marriage rate alongside its divorce rate.

For instance, the United States reported 2.7 new divorces per 1,000 people in 2019. Comparing this figure with the number of marriages that took place in the same year—6.1 per 1,000 people—yields one new divorce for every 2.26 new marriages, a divorce percentage of just over 44%. These figures arguably offer more meaningful insights than “2.7 divorces per 1,000 people.” While this method isn’t entirely precise, as divorce rates should ideally be compared to the marriage rates from the year the dissolving marriage began, it’s still a useful approximation when more detailed data isn’t available


It is important to note that divorce is a complex and multifaceted issue with numerous contributing factors. While cultural, socioeconomic, and legal aspects can certainly impact divorce rates, each relationship is unique and may face a combination of challenges. Common reasons for divorce include infidelity, financial problems, loss of intimacy, substance abuse, domestic abuse, lack of commitment, moral or religious differences, and simply growing apart. By examining these factors, we can gain a better understanding of the reasons behind the varying divorce rates across different countries.


What does the phenomenon of divorce rates by country indicate?

By observing the frequency of divorces within a given country during a specific period, one can gain valuable insights into the state of marriage and divorce in that region. This can provide policymakers, researchers, and individuals with important information regarding the social, economic, and cultural factors that contribute to the stability or instability of marriages in that particular country.

How are divorce rates by country calculated?

Divorce rates are usually calculated as the number of divorces per 1,000 people in the population. This is known as the crude divorce rate. However, there are other ways to measure divorce rates, including the refined divorce rate, which takes into account the age distribution of the population. It's important to note that divorce statistics can be influenced by many factors, including cultural attitudes toward divorce, legal and economic considerations, and social norms.

What are some of the factors that contribute to high divorce rates by country?

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to high divorce rates by country, including economic instability, changes in gender roles and expectations, cultural attitudes toward marriage and divorce, and access to divorce proceedings. For example, in countries where women have greater economic opportunities and independence, divorce rates tend to be higher. Additionally, countries with more liberal attitudes toward divorce tend to have higher rates.

Which countries have the highest divorce rates worldwide?

According to the latest available data, the countries with the highest divorce rate worldwide are Russia, Kazakhstan, and Maldives, with 3.9, 4.6, and 5.52 divorces per 1,000 population respectively.

How do marriage and divorce rates vary by country?

Marriage and divorce rates can vary widely by country, depending on a variety of factors. For example, in countries where there is a strong emphasis on family and traditional gender roles, marriage rates tend to be higher. Conversely, in countries where people have more economic and social freedom, marriage rates may be lower. Additionally, countries with more liberal attitudes towards divorce tend to have higher divorce rates, as people are more likely to end marriages that are not working out.

How do divorce rates affect economic and social affairs?

Divorce rates can have a significant impact on economic and social affairs, as they can affect everything from household income and child custody arrangements to social norms and cultural attitudes toward marriage. For example, high divorce rates can lead to increased poverty and social instability, as well as changes in the way that families are structured and supported. Additionally, divorce can be a stressful and traumatic experience for both the individuals involved and their children, which can have long-term consequences for mental and physical health.

Are there any notable trends or changes in divorce rates by country over time?

Divorce rates by country have changed significantly over time, with many countries experiencing increases or decreases in divorce rates over the past few decades. For example, in many countries, divorce rates increased during the 1960s and 1970s as social norms around marriage and divorce shifted. However, in some countries, such as Japan and Italy, divorce rates have remained relatively low compared to other developed countries. In other countries, such as Sweden and Norway, divorce rates have been relatively high for several decades.

What are the current divorce trends across different countries, and how do they impact marriage stability?

Divorce trends have been observed to vary widely across different countries, with some countries experiencing increasing divorce rates, while others have seen a decline. The impact of these trends on marriage stability can be significant, as a higher divorce rate can suggest a less stable marriage culture.

How does family law affect divorce rates?

Family law plays a crucial role in determining divorce rates within a given country. The legal framework surrounding marriage and divorce can vary significantly, and this can influence the ease with which a couple can end their marriage. Countries with more lenient divorce laws may have higher divorce rates, while those with stricter laws may have lower rates.

Which countries have the lowest divorce rates, and what factors contribute to this trend?

Several countries have been observed to have some of the lowest divorce rates worldwide. Factors that may contribute to this trend can include strong social and cultural values that prioritize the sanctity of marriage, a low incidence of poverty and economic instability, and a high degree of education and financial security among couples.

What measures can be taken to promote marriage stability and reduce divorce rates?

Several measures can be taken to promote marriage stability and reduce divorce rates, such as providing pre-marital counseling, increasing access to affordable childcare and family support services, and strengthening the legal framework surrounding marriage and divorce. Additionally, promoting education and economic stability can help provide couples with the necessary resources to weather difficult times in their marriage.

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