Good Source for Relationship Statistics
August 6, 2014 4:19 PM   Subscribe

Does this exist? The popular myth is that 50% of marriages end in divorce, but those numbers are slippery. Is there a place with a good breakdown?

Google has failed me repeatedly. I'd especially like detailed numbers about how relationships end- whether by death or breakup, if there are kids involved, number of prior marriages and how they ended, and would ESPECIALLY love statistics that include same sex relationships.
posted by Athene to Human Relations (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A good place to start would be the Wikipedia article on divorce, particularly the rates of divorce (US-specific). Wikipedia also has an article about divorce of same-sex couples.

I'd then go to the source for the information on the Wikipedia articles - check the studies that are cited. Some of them should have the information you are looking for.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2014

Government agencies and large polling firms tend to track these things. Check with CDC, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gallup, etc to see what they have collected.

If those don't work, Stephanie Coontz is an author that writes a lot about families and divorce (her most recent here), and her work might lead you to good sources. She's the head of research at the Council for Contemporary Families, which has a lot of great resources. If they don't have the exact info that you're looking for on their website, I wouldn't be shy about emailing them and asking them your specific question. They might know a researcher who is working on that problem and be able to put you in touch.
posted by ohisee at 4:42 PM on August 6, 2014

Stats Canada #1

Stats Canada #2

50 year divorce rate seems to be 41%. But I'm sure these break down wildly by education level, age at marriage and socioeconomic status.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:48 PM on August 6, 2014

I'm not finding a golden nugget, but I imagine the Gottman Institute -- they of the "this relationship will survive/end in divorce" prediction studies -- would probably have something useful.

Any overall number (like "over 50%") is generally going to be based less on any sort of longitudinal (that's a keyword you may want to use) studies of individual relationships and more on the hard facts of numbers of marriages and divorces going through the bureaucracy. It doesn't tell you which ones divorce but it gives you an overall approximation.

The confusingly-similarly-named Guttmacher Institute is less directly concerned with marriage and more with sex (and reproduction and abortion and birth control et al.) but may be worth a shout.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on August 6, 2014

For the UK, the Office of National Statistics has some infographics that sum it up. There's a link to more detailed analysis at the bottom of the page of the first link or a full statistical bulletin. If you search 'civil partnerships' it'll turn up a variety of statistical tables about those including dissolutions.
posted by theseldomseenkid at 11:52 PM on August 6, 2014

The 50% number is likely wrong
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:33 AM on August 7, 2014

It doesn't get at all your specific questions, but a great overview is Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2007. (Looks to me like article is free to everyone, but if it isn't, there are also working paper versions.) "We document key facts about marriage and divorce, comparing trends through the past 150 years and outcomes across demographic groups and countries."

Written by economist couple Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:52 AM on August 7, 2014

Try the Pew's section on Marriage and Divorce which has a number of resources and reports, including analysis of recent census data and even includes an interactive map.
posted by zenon at 9:56 PM on August 7, 2014

Statistics Netherlands has lots of information available in English. Here are the current population numbers. I couldn't find any recent publications about marriage and divorce, but there may be some older ones.
posted by neushoorn at 3:39 AM on August 8, 2014

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