A few states are absolutely crushing the whole commitment thing—is yours on the list?

By Maggie Seaver
September 20, 2019

Introducing the most happily married states in America! Well, at least the states where divorce rates were lowest over a one-year period, according to some new stats from LendingTree, an online loan marketplace. LendingTree analyzed marriage and divorce rate data from two, year-long periods, 2016–2017 and 2007–2008, at the state level to see which ones have seen higher (and lower) one-year divorce rates.

These state-by-state divorce rates are a measure of the number of married people who got divorced over a one-year period (not the number of divorced people in that state). To determine the lowest and highest one-year divorce rates, the study observed two factors: the total married population of each state (using data from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey) and the number of divorces that took place in that state the following year (using data from the 2017 Census Bureau's national community survey). It then divided the number of people who divorced in the last year by the total married population (for both the 2016–2017 and 2007–2008 periods) to get the one-year divorce rate in a nice, neat percentage.

The data finds that divorce rates are down overall since 2008 (nice!), and LendingTree posits this could be due to two interesting factors: overall, fewer marriages are taking place, and couples these days are getting married later in life. Logically, this theory definitely checks out. Marriage is a milestone decision and big commitment—if fewer people are rushing into it before their relationship (with themselves and their partner) is mature and ready for real-deal dedication, long-lasting nuptials should follow suit. Getting married when you’re a little bit older helps ensure personal and financial security when you tie the knot—potentially helping to set the stage for a more healthy, honest, and money-stress-free marriage.

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OK, enough theorizing—let’s get to the good stuff. Which states are winning the marriage game these days—or at least stayed together between 2016 and 2017? Interestingly, the state with the lowest 2016–2017 divorce rate of all has also recently been crowned the happiest state in America. Give it up for Hawaii, the state with the lowest one-year divorce rate. With a total married population of 592,193 in 2016 and 5,952 divorces in 2017, Hawaii's one-year divorce rate is a solid 1 percent. Arkansas, on the other hand, saw a slightly higher divorce rate of 2.4 percent, making it the state with the highest one-year rate. Wyoming and Washington, D.C. should receive an honorable mention for being the most improved, since these districts saw the largest drop in divorce rates over the last 10 years. 

The analysis also points out that states that saw the least amount of improvement in their divorce rates should not immediately be deemed bad at marriage. Many states with little to no divorce rate improvement in fact had very low divorce rates to begin with. “Pennsylvania and its Northeast neighbors, for example, already have the lowest divorce rates in the country, and therefore had less room for improvement,” according to the data report.

Want to know if your state made the top 10 list? These are the 10 states with the lowest one-year divorce rates, starting with the lowest: 

  1. Hawaii
  2. New York
  3. Illinois
  4. New Jersey
  5. Vermont
  6. Minnesota
  7. California
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Iowa
  10. Pennsylvania

Here are the 10 states with the highest one-year divorce rates, starting with the highest:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Kentucky
  3. Alabama
  4. Oklahoma
  5. West Virginia
  6. Tennessee
  7. Idaho
  8. Georgia
  9. Nevada
  10. Maine

RELATED: 5 Conversations You Need to Have Before You Get Married

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