The States of Marriage and Divorce

In Arkansas and Oklahoma, men and women marry young – half of first-time brides in these states were 24 or younger on their wedding day. These states also have above-average shares of women who divorced in 2007-2008.

It's the opposite state of affairs in Massachusetts and New York. Their residents marry late – half of ever-married New York men were older than 30 when they first wed. These states also have below-average shares of men and women who divorced in 2007-2008.

Remember the classic country song: "All My Exs Live in Texas"? Well, George Strait was on to something. Looking at numbers, Texas is indeed home to more thrice-married adults than any other state, about 428,000 women and 373,000 men. But that's partly because it's home to so many people, period. Looking at rates, about 6% of Texans who ever have been married have wed three times or more. That is similar to the national average (5%), but well below the leaders in this category – the neighboring states of Arkansas and Oklahoma – where about 10% of all ever-married adults have had at least three spouses.

Meantime, back in New York and Massachusetts, just 2% of ever-married adults have been married at least three times, placing them at the bottom on this measure among the 50 states.

These findings are drawn from the recently released 2008 American Community Survey, which offers the most detailed portrait yet from the U.S. Census Bureau of marriage and divorce statistics at the state level. This is the first time the survey has included estimates of marriage and divorces within the previous 12 months, duration of marriages and Americans married multiple times.

Read the full report The States of Marriage and Divorce on the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Web site. The interactive map shows state-based marriage and divorce statistics.

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