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The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Countries With the Highest Divorce Rates

You may be surprised at which countries dominate when it comes to divorce.

By Kristin Wong Sep 7, 2012 3:16PM

Photo: Image Source/Getty ImagesIn the United States, it's commonly touted that half of all marriages end in divorce. And there's truth to that maxim; estimates for 2012 predict that the probability of a marriage eventually ending in divorce is between 40 percent and 50 percent.

While westernized countries are typically associated with higher divorce rates, you actually have to travel east to find the countries that dominate when it comes to divorce.

In the most recent version of the United Nations Demographic Yearbook, it's revealed that Russia has the highest divorce rate, with five divorces for every 1,000 people. The UN reported that Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova are the top four countries where divorce is most common. Divorce is also high on the Cayman Islands, where 3.4 divorces for every 1,000 people. Some statistics also show that Aruba tops the list, with a divorce rate of 4.99, though that figure is from 2004. Still, it is a somewhat surprisingly high number.

Tied with the Cayman Islands, the United States also ranks fifth on the UN's list of countries with the highest divorce rates. Bermuda, Cuba, Lithuania and the Czech Republic rounded out the list.

(Please note: "of every 1,000" refers to the general population, not the married population. As explained by the United Nations Populations Division: "The crude divorce rate is the annual number of divorces per 1,000 population.")

In the United Kingdom, divorce rates have increased by 5 percent in recent years, with some experts blaming the recession. In 2011, a study from the Centre for Social Justice found that 48 percent of children in the UK were likely to see their parents split by the age of 16.

Over the past few decades, divorce has become increasingly common, as the stigma surrounding it has been shed. The Heart Beat talked to marriage counselor and psychotherapist, Mel Schwartz, who has written extensively on the topic of divorce.

While past trends show that a declining economy has predicted an increase in divorce rate, (as was speculated in the U.K.), Schwartz says that in our current economy, it may actually be the opposite.

"The current economic conditions may force many people to remain unhappily married due to financial constraints," he tells us.

Related video: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship

In a piece for Psychology Today, Schwartz wrote about the "Wrong Reasons for Staying Married." He argued that fear often keeps people trapped in unhappy marriages. That being said, Schwartz is not advocating divorce unless it becomes completely necessary, he says.

"Divorce should not be considered unless each person can say they have individually done all they can reasonably do," Schwartz explains. He added that couples must ask: "Have they looked into themselves, have they worked on communications skills, have they engaged in therapy."

What do you think? Are you surprised by the global divorce rates?

Photo: Image Source/Getty Images

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54Comments
Jul 10, 2013 10:41AM
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If you do not get married you cannot get divorced.  
Sep 7, 2012 8:52PM
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That is because, these days, people get married when they are in heat, not love.
Sep 7, 2012 8:20PM
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After 27 years of what I thought was a good marriage, my wife said...goodbye.  Little did I know we were happy LOL.  So, I have learned that I am NEVER getting married again because in California, your spouse can say I want out and the state says okay no matter what the reason is or no reason at all.  And whoever makes more money has to pay through the nose.  So my advice to all of you...DO NOT GET MARRIED BECAUSE IT IS NOT WORTH IT.
Sep 7, 2012 7:51PM
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This divorce stuff is bad, bad.  Almost as bad as the gays.
Sep 7, 2012 7:50PM
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So the US has 3.4 divorces per 1000 people per year...and 3.4 divorces per 1000 people really means 6.8 people get divorced per 1000, since there's 2 involved.
6.8/year.....over 50 years, 340 people out of 1000 will be divorced.  When you factor in that of those who don't get divorced, many never married, this sounds about right.

Sep 7, 2012 7:45PM
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Since the seventies, women have abandoned the home en masse. Women and men reject the traditional roles of husband and wife. A stranger is taking care of the children. Men have become even more amoral than previous generations. Now women are taking on the same role of sexual degeneracy as men. Women and men go into marriage without the expectation that marriage is a contract that should not be easily broken. The thought is that if this doesn't work out, "I'll just divorse him or her and start over". The least wave under the dreamboat sets us to thinking that maybe we should cut our losses. No one wants to try anymore. God is completely absent from most homes now. No one has a standard to live by. Most women and men live lives of sexual immorality before marriage. After marriage, it is a much shorter step to infidelity. We take our life lessons from idiotic, so called, reality shows that display well what not to do with ones life, but are accepted as  normal behavior. Just as we believe that the collapse of our country can be laid on the doorstep of economics, we believe that money is the key to happiness in marriage. The key is in keeping the evil in the world out of our homes and making them places of love, peace, trust and healing. Reject the falacies accepted as truth in our world and embrace the good and true. Come together with spouse and children to embrace the important things in life. The old saying that money never brought happiness is true. Sex outside our marriages will just as surely not bring happiness. Make your home and family the most important things in your life. Do not cultivate friendships that interfere with your home life. The man is primarily responsible for providing the food and shelter and modeling the characteristics of a good and godly  man to his wife and children. The woman is primarily responsible for the care and nurturing of the children and displaying the traits of a good and godly woman to her husband and children. These are the important things in life. These principles will keep marriages together much better than the life lessons we learn from TV, movies and friends who distract from true principles. Tonight, try to get your spouse to kneel with you and pray for your marriage. Bring your children together for family prayer. Hold them close to you and teach them true principles. Help them defend against the bad things in our world, outside the home.
Sep 7, 2012 7:31PM
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I find it hilarious that everyone is arguing with Kristen over the math of the article. Seriously? Just drop it. I'm pretty sure she wins, as she got paid to write this article regardless of how many people insult her. 
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