Divorces on the Decline But The Divorce Statistics in Utah Show An Increase . . So Why?

Divorces on the Decline But The Divorce Statistics in Utah Show An Increase . . So Why? 2
Divorces on the Decline But The Divorce Statistics in Utah Show An Increase . . So Why? 3


Divorces are an expensive, time-consuming, and often traumatic affair, especially those involving children, however the divorce rate in the US is declining, but the rate in Utah has shown an upward trend over the past decade.

QuoteWizard by LendingTree analyzed National Centers for Health Statistics on divorce and found that Utah’s marriage rate has seen a zero percent increase since 2009. Between 2009 and 2018 marriage increased by 8.4 percent while divorce rates in the state increased by 2.7 percent over that period.

Mississippi, New Mexico and Massachusetts saw the largest increase in marriage rates while llinois, Kansas and West Virginia saw the largest decrease in divorce rates.

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, divorced individuals show higher levels of psychological stress, substance abuse, and depression as some of the reasons for divorce, although the decline in statistics may surprise some. 

The National Center for Health Statistics shows the US marriage and divorce figures as follows:

  • Number of marriages: 2,132,853
  • Marriage rate: 6.5 per 1,000 total population
  • Number of divorces: 782,038 (45 reporting States and D.C.)
  • Divorce rate: 2.9 per 1,000 population (45 reporting States and D.C.)

The U.S. and Utah divorce rates have been on a steady decline since the year 1990. For every 1000 couples in Utah in 2018, 2.9 of them got a divorce. The divorce rate has increased every year since 2016.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, couples who marry in Utah have a 15.97 percent chance of getting a divorce. That makes Utah the lowest in the country for divorce rates, according to the Bureau.

The Utah divorce rate has remained fairly consistent over recent years with a general downward trend over the past 29 years with an average rate of 4.0. The Utah divorce rate was 3.6 in 2016, 3.4 in 2017, and 2.9 in 2018.

Many factors could contribute to a divorce and even though Utah divorces come in at less than half the national rate, many elements could explain the trends. 

The Reasons for Divorce

Although there are clearly a multitude of reasons for divorces, the survey undertaken by the US Census Bureau shows that couples agreed that the following factors played a significant role in their divorce:

  • Lack of commitment (70.6%)
  • Infidelity or extramarital affairs (31.3%)
  • Conflict management and arguing (53.8%)
  • Getting married at an early age (27.3%)
  • Financial problems and mismanagement (50.0%)
  • Substance abuse (33.3%)
  • Domestic violence and disputes (40.0%)
  • Health-related issues (25.0%)
  • Lack of family support (20.0%)
  • No premarital education (25.0%)

The Final Straw

More than two-thirds of divorced individuals feel that there is a final determining factor that ultimately leads to the demise of the marriage. The most cited reasons for terminating the marriage were infidelity and domestic violence.

Generally one of the most common reasons people give for their divorce are lack of commitment, too much arguing, infidelity, marrying too young, unrealistic expectations, lack of equality in the relationship, lack of preparation for marriage, and abuse.

Blaming Others

Most individuals who file for a divorce feel their partners could have worked harder to save the marriage. 65.8% of men and 73.8% of women when asked if their partners could have done more agreed that they could have.

However, only one-third of men and women yet that they could have done more to improve the outcomes of their marriage. More than double the number of women file for divorce in the U.S. compared to men. 

The following factors could contribute to a marriage lasting at least two decades and withstanding the tests of time: 

Education Factors

The National Center for Health Statistics found that 78% with a college education were more than likely to stay married compared to 40% of those with a high-school education or less. College-educated adults are more likely to get married compared to others as well. College-educated adults tend to get married later in life while also having more financial stability. 


Many Millenials are choosing cohabitation instead of marriage nowadays according to the PEW research center. More than 59% of young people have cohabitated compared to 50% who have gotten married. However, the research also supports that individuals who marry without cohabitating increase their chances of their marriage lasting more than two decades by 11%. Most adults see cohabitation as a step towards marriage. 


In the state of Utah, differing from other states, married couples with minor children must attend a mediation or divorce education class before they are allowed to complete their divorce.

Working in this area as a Salt Lake City divorce lawyer we have found that Utah has had a very low rate of divorce and the upward trend may be due to external factors impacting upon a relationship. Utah has had a low divorce rate traditionally and is also a state that traditionally offers high economic growth, volunteering, low working hours and the low divorce rate.

Maybe the place you live is an indicator of how your marriage will survive, but there are other factors at play that have evidently altered that ‘balance’.

The trend in Utah and elsewhere can alter. But in the meantime, the factors that ‘drive’ divorce continue to affect the environment for successful marriages.


Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Law Office are a Salt Lake City law firm that has consistently provided top level services. See details on the firm here.

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