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What is the real U.S. divorce rate?

Despite all the work researchers do studying divorce in the U.S., there are still a lot of myths the public continues to believe. Perhaps the most famous bit of misinformation has to do with the country’s divorce rate.

You still hear regularly that half of U.S. marriages in divorce. This myth is based on flawed interpretation of data, according to the Washington Post. For instance, in 2014, there were 17 marriages and 8.7 divorces per 1,000 American women. Divide 8.7 by 17, and you get 0.51, or 51 percent.

But very few people who got married in 2014 ended that marriage the same year. The women getting divorced were almost entirely different individuals than the women who got married that year. Based on current trends, about a third of current marriages will end in divorce.

That is a general figure for all marriages in the U.S., and like any generalization, it does not paint an accurate picture of everyone it covers. The Post article discusses a study that measured the divorce rate, by age and gender, of Americans based on their employment status, education and ethnicity.

For instance, black people were slightly more likely to get divorced than white non-Hispanics, while Hispanics and Asians were significantly less likely to divorce than blacks or whites. At 45 percent for women and 44 percent for men, Native Americans were the most likely to divorce in their lifetimes.

No matter your background, and despite your best intentions, there is always a chance that you will get divorced. Whether you or your spouse initiates proceedings, you will need an attorney who will work to obtain a fair financial settlement and protect your parental rights.

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