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Study explores how divorce rates have changed over the last 40 years

There is one divorce statistic with which almost everyone is familiar: nearly half of all marriages here in the U.S. end in divorce. Yet as eye opening as this figure still is, it's worth noting that our country actually only ranks in twelfth place globally for the percentage of marriages ending in divorce.

Furthermore, it's worth noting that even though it may seem as if our country has always had divorce numbers this high, the reality is actually quite different.

Consider a recently released study by the genealogy research website MooseRoots, which set out to determine how the population of divorced people in the U.S. has evolved on a national, state and local level from 1970 to 2010.

After examining data gathered from both the National Historic Geographic Information System and the U.S. Census Bureau, the researchers found that the total divorced population here in the U.S. was just 3.4 percent in 1970 and jumped to 10.5 percent by 2010, a 7.1 percent increase.

Closer to home, they found that the total divorced population in North Carolina was only 2.2 percent in 1970, rising to 4.7 percent in 1980, 7.3 percent in 1990, 9.3 percent in 2000 and finally 10.2 percent in 2010.

As fascinating as all this is, the researchers also used the same information to determine the 25 U.S. cities that saw the largest shifts in the proportion of their divorced population. Somewhat shockingly, three cities here in the Tarheel State cracked the top ten, including:

  • Raleigh (10th); percent change in divorce from 1970 to 2010 was 206.25
  • Charlotte (9th); percent change in divorce from 1970 to 2010 was 209.09
  • Greensboro (4th); percent change in divorce from 1970 to 2010 was 260

These are truly fascinating figures that highlight perhaps more than anything how people no longer feel as much societal pressure to remain in an unhappy marriage and how financial independence may be causing more spouses to feel more comfortable with divorce.

Whatever the reasons, if you would like to learn more about how the divorce process works here in North Carolina, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can answer your questions, explain the law and outline the process.