What is the divorce rate anyway?

How often has someone said to you "Isn't it amazing how many people are getting divorced these days? The divorce rate sure is rising!"

As a divorce lawyer, I get the comment all the time but frankly until recently I did not have a clear picture of the trends and actual divorce statistics. Now I do, thanks to Dr. Anne-Marie Ambert of York University. She wrote an excellent article for the Vanier Institute of the Family called "Divorce: Facts, Causes and Consequences". I recommend you read her full article for her insights and the details. 

Here are just some of the facts from her article. These statistics are generally about the Canadian experience unless stated otherwise. 

 

Percentage of all relationships (married & common law) that end in separation 50%
Percentage of marriages ending in divorce before 30th anniversary in Canada 38.3%
Percentage of marriages ending in divorce before 30th anniversary in USA 44.0%
Rate of divorce for first marriages 30%
Province with highest divorce rate Quebec
Province with lowest divorce rate NL
Average length of marriage 14.2 years
Average age of men who divorce 43 years
Average age of women who divorce 40.5 years
Divorces per 100,000 population in 1921 6.4
Divorces per 100,000 population in 1987 (peak year) 362.3
Divorces per 100,000 population in 2003 224.0
Rate per 1,000 population in 2003 in Russia 5.30
Rate per 1,000 population in 2003 in USA 4.30
Rate per 1,000 population in 2003 in Canada 2.23
Rate per 1,000 population in 2003 in Mexico 0.56
Percentage of men with custody of children 11%
Percentage of women with custody of children 47%
Percentage of parents with joint custody 42%
Percentage of divorced men who remarry 70%
Percentage of divorced women who remarry 58%
Percentage of common law relationships that end in separation within 3 years 50+%