Is Religion Linked to Divorce? South Has Highest Rates Says Census

Northeastern states have the lowest divorce rate in America, while the South ranked highest, said a recent U.S. census report. The study has raised questions regarding the connection between divorce rates and religion.

The reported showed that the Northeast and more specifically New Jersey had the lowest divorce rate in America.

In the Northeast, 7.2 per 1,000 men and 7.5 per 1,000 women got divorced. However in the South, the rates were 10.2 for men and 11.1 for women.

New Jersey’s rates were 6.1 for men and six for women, according to the 2009 American Community Survey.

Followed closely by New York, the Garden State was number one when it came to “happily ever after” – despite the state’s popular culture that was synonymous with the “Jersey Shore.”

The Bible belt, on the other hand, had the highest divorce rate in the U.S. The region, known for its Southern hospitality, country music, and church telethons, had the largest number of “shotgun” weddings and divorces across America.

“People assume that people in the Northeast divorce easily because they’re less religious, but that’s not the case,” said Deborah Carr, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University, Religion News Service wrote.

The South saw more divorce rates for a variety of reasons – with the biggest factor potentially being the total number of marriages in a particular area Carr stated.

New Jersey’s average marrying age is about two years older than the national average. The state is also located in a region where religion is less likely to influence marriage and cohabitation.

There are simply more marriages in the Bible belt, which has a marriage of 20.3.

New Jersey, however, has the second-lowest marriage rate. The Garden State ranked just above Maine, with a rate of 14.8 for men and 13.3 for women.

In addition to number of marriages, Carr believed that other major factors contributing to high divorce rates in the South included: age, education, pregnancy outside of wedlock, low pre-marriage cohabitation rates and cost of living.

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