Trend in Divorce Rates In Urban And Rural Areas?

Written by on October 15, 2012 in Relationships - No comments | Print this page


We often talk about divorce and the states that already approved it. Of course we also discuss the issues regarding how to cope with divorce, and remarrying issues.

One important aspect of divorce that should be added to the equation is geography. That’s right. There are differences to the trend of divorce cases in urban and rural areas. Furthermore, there are also differences with people’s perspectives regarding divorce, from these two areas.


According to a study entitled Sin City: Why is the divorce rate higher in urban areas? (which used the data from Denmark), those who stay in the city have a divorce rate higher by 23%. While those who were married somewhere else and not in the urban area were also inclined to be divorced once they stay in the city.

Urban areas are catching up

Now the trend may not be the same for long. In the US, there has been a dramatic increase in the divorce rates of rural areas from the period of 1980 until 2009.

According to an article in entitled Once Rare in Rural America, Divorce Is Changing the Face of Its Families (March 23, 2011), a classic example of this trend is the case of Sioux County, Iowa. The divorce rate was so low here in the 1970s that it was compared to the rates way back in 1910.

In the larger picture, according to the same article, the divorce rate in the rural areas in the US is catching up with the national average rate and the rate for urban areas.

“Forty years ago, divorced people were more concentrated in cities and suburbs. But geographic distinctions have all but vanished, and now, for the first time, rural Americans are just as likely to be divorced as city dwellers.” – Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff, (March 23, 2011)

The reasons – education and income?

Basing on the case of Sioux County, Iowa, one of the main reasons is the disparity in the level of education between men and women. Women who were college-educated are more independent that’s why when things will not go the right way, getting divorced is the best option especially if the spouse is economically incapable.

Furthermore, the gap of education between residents of rural and urban areas is getting wider. The same article from mentions that one out of six in rural areas continue their education to college level while one out of three for those from urban areas.

So it seems that education is the major reason. However, another major factor is income (which is a result of education or educational attainment of a person).

According to a study entitled The Role of Income in Marriage and Divorce – Transitions among Young Americans, for young men high income means higher probability of marriage and decrease in probability of getting divorced. While for women, higher income means lower probability of marriage and no impact on divorce.


It is a generally-accepted view that the divorce rate for urban areas is higher as compared to rural areas. However, the current trend in the US seems to say otherwise. Rural areas are catching up. With the main reasons like education and income, more and more couples decided to get divorced.

This is a guest post.  Divorce rates in urban and rural areas are expected to be different. However, with the current trend in the US, it seems that rural divorce rate is catching up. In this article, Ric explores this current trend. He’s also writing some articles for Turco Legal.


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