Revisiting Divorce Rate Statistics

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US Census Bureau statistics show that 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse.

Have you ever been surprised by the commonly quoted statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce?  Closer inspection shows otherwise For many of us, the statistics don’t line up with our experiential knowledge.  Shaunti Feldhahn disputes these statistics in her new book, The Good News About Marriage, with a forward by Andy Stanley.

Shaunti Feldhahn writes, “Perhaps most surprising, half of all marriages are not ending in divorce. According to the Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse! And the 28% who aren’t, includes everyone who was married for many years, until a spouse died. No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20-25%. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31-35% range, depending on the study.

“Now, expert demographers continue to project that 40-50% of couples will get divorced – but it is important to remember that those are projections. And I’m skeptical because the actual numbers have never come close, and divorce rates continue to drop, not rise! Even among the highest-risk age group –baby boomers—seven in ten are still married to their first spouse. Most of them have had 30 years’ worth of chances to get divorced…and they are still together.”

One of the other common statistics that we hear is that the divorce rate is the same for Christians as it is for non-Christians.  Feldhahn spoke directly with George Barna about this.  He said that the Barna Group studies were focusing specifically on the divorce rates of those with Christian and non-Christian belief systems. And didn’t take worship attendance into account. Their statistics actually show that if the person was in church last week, their divorce rate drops by 27%.  “Overall, regular church attendance lowers the divorce rate anywhere from 25-50%, depending on the study you look at.”

You can ready more by getting her new book from

Lord, come help and heal our marriages.



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