OECD: Divorce

3 Data on divorce topic is compiled and compared among OECD countries: crude divorce rate (2001, 2004), number of divorce in 100 marriages (2000) and mean marriage duration at divorce (2000).

1) Crude divorce rate:

On average, the crude divorce rate for the selected OECD countries is 2.16 in year 2001 and increase to 2.26 for year 2004. Ireland, Italy and Spain are seeing relatively low crude divorce rate compared to others while United States has the highest crude divorce rate, as high as 4.0 and 3.7 divorces per 1000 inhabitants/population for year 2001 and 2004 respectively. These numbers are seeing as high as 5x than Ireland’s crude divorce rate: 0.7 (2001) and 0.8 (2004). Coincidentally, Ireland, Italy and Spain are the countries which are predominantly Roman Catholics.

Graph above shows the change in crude divorce rate between year 2001 and 2004. Switzerland is seeing a great increase in crude divorce rate, 0.9, followed by Belgium (0.4) and Portugal (0.3). On the other hand, Netherlands and United States are seeing a drop/improvement in the crude divorce rate (0.3) followed by Finland and Sweden (0.2). Japan, Iceland, Australia and Austria see no changes.

2) Number of divorces in 100 marriages, 2000 and 3) mean marriage duration at divorce, 2000.

Belgium has the highest number of divorces in 100 marriages – about 60 out of 100 married couple will end up in divorce. The high number also go to Sweden, roughly 54 married Swedish couples could not make it and 53.2 for Finnish. Italy is seeing the lowest number of divorces among married couple: only 13.2% of married couple will part away. The relatively low number also goes to Spain (18.0%) and Switzerland (26.4%).

It is also interesting to note that how long does a marriage can last before the couple divorce. Again, Italy is seeing the longest marriage survival time (16.7 years) before the couple decided to part away.  Portugal followed closely behind, 14.5 years and Iceland 14.1 years. On average, the selected countries have their marriage lasted 13.0 years before divorce. United States, Japan and United Kingdom are seeing relatively shorter marriage duration, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.9 years respectively.


  1. Crude divorce rate 2001 and 2004: Statistic Finland, World Figure and tallied with divorce statistic from each statistic bureau from respective country.
  2. Number of divorces in 100 marriages and mean age of marriage duration, 2000, from OECD Social Indicators – 2006 Edition: General context indicator.


  1. June 11, 2007 at 4:36 am

    […] and Korea slightly disagree on that. It is interesting to compare their opinion and the actual divorce data, which will be shown […]

  2. December 17, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    It is to high no matter where it is….there are so many ways to stay away from divorce if that is what both parties want. There are ways to keep marriages healthy before anything happens, again, if both parties want it. Sometimes marriages just don’t work, not because either person was wrong or did something hurtful. There is also a lot of great information available to those who want more information to keep a marriage together, seperate, or to divorce. Divorce is a choice, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

  3. January 25, 2008 at 1:34 am

    I was doing some research for my Divorce Online Canada Blog and found you website and I must I am very impressed with the depth of writing and stats please keep up the good work on all our behalf’s…

    Howard M

  4. emmily said,

    August 30, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    There are updated statistics at the OECD.
    They include data of 2007 and there are more details.

    One remark about Belgium: the divorce rate remains very high. About 60 percent. However, Belgian statistics about children and divorce seem to be not very reliable. Besided, details are missing about the children of divorce. The government does not track these demographic data, unfortunately.

    The same is true for the United States of America in the OECD statistics about the children involved in divorce.

    The statistics show that divorce rates are lower in families with less children:

  5. ARDEN said,

    October 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Took the New York Times Personality Test. Turns out I’m a Life Lover. Take the quiz here http://t.co/k2D7Yodu

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