Divorce is one of the gritty realities of modern life. While it’s perhaps not the jolliest of subjects, you can find out some pretty interesting things when you look at the data behind it.
Using data from the American Community Survey between 2009 and 2014, statistician Nathan Yau from FlowingData has created an interactive graph that details the stats and figures on divorce. Within the graph you can flick through a variety of demographics – such as different ethnic background, employment status, and education level – and see the trends for which age people are most likely to be divorced.
“A common myth about marriage is that half of them end in divorce. It comes from naively dividing the divorce rate by the marriage rate,” Nathan explains on his website.
“For example, based on 2014 American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, there were 8.7 divorces and 17.0 marriages per 1,000 women. Divide the former by the latter and you get 51 percent… The problem with this math is that the people who marry now aren't the same people who divorce now.”
In reality, no group goes over the 45 percent mark. However, there are some distinct trends between the different groups.
Strangest of all of the findings was the difference between men and women in divorce rates. You’d assume that it would be the same, especially as same-sex marriages aren’t featured in the data. Yet throughout all the demographics, the rates between men and women switch around. Nathan isn’t clear about what causes this “flip-flopping,” although he speculates that it could be something to do with men marrying later and dying earlier than women.
Check out the interactive graph on the FlowingData website.
Screenshot from the interactive graph showing the divorce rate of "Employed" people, with males shown in orange and females shown in blue. Nathan Yau/FlowingData