KSNF/KODE — Marriage and divorce statistics in the United States have long been a topic of fascination and concern. The oft-quoted statistic that around half of all marriages end in divorce is both shocking and misleading. While this number may grab headlines, it fails to capture the intricate and evolving landscape of relationships in our country.

To shed light on the ever-changing landscape of marriage and divorce in the heart of the country, data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This data was examined by the KGNLawFirm.com on a national level. We analyzed the data from the CDC and KGN Law Firm from Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas, uncovering interesting trends and patterns that offer a more nuanced view of this complex topic.

General Trends

From 2000 to 2021, divorce rates per 1,000 people have seen a consistent decline. This pattern is consistent across the nation, with a slight uptick beginning in 2021. However, not all states follow the same trajectory, which is evident when specified to our Four State region.

Divorce Trends in the Four States

In our region, Oklahoma stands out with a distinctive path. It reported no data on divorce rates from 2000 to 2003. Afterward, the state experienced a relatively high divorce rate, which gradually decreased through 2019. Then, there was a slight increase, followed by another drop, and yet another increase. This fluctuation highlights the intricate dynamics within individual states.

Kansas experienced a steady decline in divorce rates up until 2021, mirroring the national trend, and ranking as the 5th state in the nation with the lowest divorce rate. Missouri and Arkansas showed similar patterns to the national trend but with some minor variations. Missouri ranks 19th on the list of divorce rates at 2.9 divorces per 1000, and Arkansas is the highest of the Four States with 3.6 divorces per 1000.

Marriage Trends in the Four States

Marriage rates have been declining across most states in the USA including our area. Between 2000 and 2021, there was a consistent downward trend, with only occasional minor recoveries in 2004, 2014, and 2021. This reflects a shifting societal landscape where traditional marriage may be losing some of its former significance.

Pandemic Impact on Marriage and Divorce

The years surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic marked a significant deviation from the ongoing trends. Both marriage and divorce rates saw fluctuations, which can be attributed to the pandemic’s influence on people’s ability to marry or divorce. As the nation gradually returned to normalcy, we observed an uptick in marriages, indicating that the pandemic disrupted typical marriage patterns.

Changing the Face of Marriage and Divorce

One of the most significant findings in the data is the changing face of marriage and divorce in terms of age and gender. Marriage is becoming less popular among young adults, especially those between the ages of 20 and 34. The trend is more pronounced for women, who are less likely to marry at an early age. On the other hand, men are marrying more often as they get older.

In terms of divorce, women have higher divorce rates, particularly when they are part of the labor force. This could be linked to financial independence, enabling women to support themselves during a divorce. This is a critical insight into the role of economics in the dynamics of marriage and divorce.

Racial Differences

Another noteworthy aspect of marriage and divorce is the influence of race. The data reveals that Asian Americans have the highest marriage rates and the lowest divorce rates. This could be attributed to cultural factors and traditions within Asian communities. Other racial groups, such as whites, Black or African Americans, American Indians, and Native Hawaiians, exhibit varying marriage and divorce rates, emphasizing the importance of cultural and social factors in this context.

Ever Changing Landscape

In a society where marriage is becoming less of a necessity for many and traditional norms are evolving, it’s essential to recognize the complexity of marriage and divorce trends. Our analysis of Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas provides a snapshot of the multifaceted nature of these phenomena, which are influenced by age, gender, economics, and cultural factors.

The marriage and divorce landscape in the U.S. is continually evolving, and it’s important to consider the unique circumstances of each state and demographic group. This can help one understand the intricate patterns that underlie the statistics, helping individuals, policymakers, and researches make more informed decisions and draw meaningful conclusions about the state of marriage and divorce in the U.S.