NOTE: Newer information on the same topics is available on The Divorce Statistics and Studies Blog. But a lot of important, pre-2008 information is collected only on this site, the Divorce Statistics Collection. So you should check both this site and the blog.

For years scholars discussed only whether or not divorce "damaged" children
by creating mental illness in them.

As if, any form of pain we inflict on our children that does not produce
mental illness does not "count." The fact that many children of divorce
report great suffering, and yet are within the normal range psychologically,
was somehow taken as evidence that the suffering did no damage, and the
divorce was somehow justified.
Surely it's good news that most children of divorce are not clinically
depressed. Does it matter that most children whose parents divorce report
lonelier, less protected, and more stress-filled childhoods? ...

- Comment by Maggie Gallagher 11/7/05 on
"Why Marraige Matters, Second Edition: Tweny-Six conclusions from the Social Sciences."
A Report from Family Scholars
Press Release: October 24, 2005

"...[This] version unveils five new themes stemming from marriage-related research. African Americans and Latinos benefit from marriage in much the same way that Anglos do conclude the authors, leading family scholars headed by W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia. Like the first version, the second version summarizes marriage-related research into a succinct form useful to Americans on all sides of ongoing family debates - to report what we know about the importance of marriage for our families and for societies."

Please visit to order a copy of the report.


"Is he "the loser", or is he Dad?"
by Teri Stoddard

One million children in America are involved in a new divorce annually, as
of 1997, according to, and The Children's Fund reports
that one in three American children is born to unmarried parents (2004 Key
Facts About American Children).

From---"Is he "the loser", or is he Dad?" by Teri Stoddard, October 15, 2005
<> - Aurora,OH,

Divorce Magazine,
2004 Key Facts About American Children by The Children's Fund,
For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, by Hetherington, Mavis, and
National Fatherhood Initiative,
Divorce Rates in Families With Children

Part of the Divorce Statistics Collection, from Americans for Divorce Reform
Legislation | Statistics | Articles/Opinion | Quotations | Polls | Other family-related articles
Send Us More Statistics!


Jay D. Teachman, "The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the
Characteristics of Their Marriages," Journal of Family Issues 25 (January
2004): 86-111.

Between 1970 and 1996, the proportion of children under 18 years of age living with one parent grew from 12 percent to 28 percent. 1998 Census Bureau Report [alternative link] x

The number of children whose parents divorce grew by 700 percent from 1900 to 1972.
Kingsley Davis, "The American Famiy in Relation to Demographic Change," in Demographic and Social Aspects of Population Growth, Vol. 1, Charles R. Westoff and Robert Parke, eds., Commission on Population Growth and the American Future. Gov't Printing Office 1972. Quoted in All Our Children: The American Family Under Pressure, by Kenneth Kenniston and the Carnegie Council on Children. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977. p. 4.

"The number of children living with both parents declined from 85 to 68 percent between 1970 and 1996. The proportion of children living with one parent has grown from 12 percent to 28 percent during this same time span."
Quoted from Census Bureau's release about its report on MARITAL STATUS AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

"What increased alongside the nation's divorce rate was the number of children involved in divorce. Not long ago, a couple experiencing marriage difficulties would often stay together merely for the sake of their children. Today, children are increasingly seen as secondary to the perceived personal needs of the spouses.
"The number of children involved in divorces and annulments stood at 6.3 per 1,000 children under 18 years of age in 1950, and 7.2 in 1960. By 1970 it had increased to 12.5; by 1975, 16.7; by 1980, the rate stood at 17.3, a 175 percent increase from 1950. Since in 1972, one million American children every year have seen their parents divorce. "
Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum, citing Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1993.

"Half of all children will witness the breakup of a parent's marriage. Of these, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent's second marriage."
Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, "Life Course," 656ff. Cited on page76 ofThe Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher

"Since the introduction of "no-fault divorce" in Canada 30 years ago, the
rate of marital break-up has soared 600%. A third of marriages fail, and
over a third of those break-ups involve children. One-fifth of Canadian
children have lost a parent to divorce, with an effect that some
sociologists now say can be "worse than a parent's death." Divorce is
consistently associated with juvenile emotional disorders, crime,
suicide, promiscuity and later marital break-up."
From "The push for 'high-octane' marriages: An American state rolls back the divorce revolution by re-establishing life-long covenants.
By Tim Rotheisler. Alberta Report, August 4, 1997

"Ten percent of children of divorce will go on to witness three or more family breakups."
Peterson, "Marital Disruption," 5. Cited on page76 ofThe Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher

Divorce in Mississippi -- includes stats on number of children involved

In 1997 (the latest year for which statistics are available), the number of divorces in Mississippi was more than 2_ times the number in 1960. The most rapid increase occurred between 1965 and 1975, followed by a slight decrease over most of the 1980s. Since 1998, however, divorce has increased significantly. In 1993, for the first time in our history, the number of divorces exceeded the number first-time marriages, and by 1997, that gap had increased to 10% more people leaving marriage than entering it for the first time.

The divorce rate for Blacks is much lower than for Whites. White divorce has increased nearly 2_ times faster than divorce among Blacks. While Blacks make up 31% of the adult population, they are involved in only 22% of divorces. Whites give up earlier, too: 44% of White divorces occur in the first five years of marriage; for Blacks only 30% of those who divorce quit that early.

More children are forced into single-parent families by divorce than by being born to a teenage mother. More than half the divorces in the state involve parents of minor children. Over the past ten years, more than 114,000 children have experienced their parents' divorce. A study of adult women in 1987 found that those who had been younger than 16 when their parents divorced were about 60% more likely to be divorced or separated themselves at the time of the study.

Year All* White Nonwhite Children Involved**
1960 5,260 3,553 1,707 5,802
1965 5,730 4,220 1,510 6,697
1970 8,211 6,227 1,984 8,651
1975 12,303 9,570 2,733 11,899
1980 13,846 10,760 3,086 13,128
1985 12,535 9,766 2,662 11,111
1990 12,735 9,498 2,804 11,123
1991 13,027 9,926 2,689 11,093
1992 12,758 9,785 2,667 10,950
1993 13,860 10,513 2,940 11,954
1994 13,302 10,110 2,890 11,622
1995 13,182 10,073 2,850 10,786
1996 14,263 10,658 3,180 11,629
1997 13,860 10,376 3,101 10,983

* Includes those where race was not reported
** The number of children shown on this chart is greatly understated because of the categories used in collecting the statistics. By how much it is understated is uncertain for most years, but in 1975, the actual number of children involved was 13,061, meaning the number on this chart for that year is understated by more than 1,000. To maintain comparability, however, the chart was compiled using the same method of computing for each year.

Analysis by the Mississippi Family Council, an independent, non-profit public policy organization based in Jackson. Divorce statistics compiled from Mississippi Department of Health data.

Legislation | Statistics | Articles/Opinion | Quotations | Polls | Other family-related articles


Originally posted and maintained by Americans for Divorce Reform; now maintained by John Crouch. You can call me at (703) 528-6700 or e-mail me through my law office's web site.