Top 5 Cities With the Highest Divorce Rate

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With high-profile celebrity divorces gracing the gossip website headlines, it’s easy to focus on Hollywood breakups. But divorces happen to “normal” couples in cities all over the United States, too — about 50 percent of the time. The 2009 American Community Survey sampled 3 million households to provide the first detailed information on marriages and divorces since a 1996 Center for Health Statistics report.

5 Phoenix, Arizona

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Phoenix, one of the largest cities in the Southwest, boasts a population of 4.1 million, with 379,000 or so divorced. Arizona’s laws as a no-fault divorce state makes it easier to split. Males in Phoenix have a divorce rate of 10.1, while 13.7 percent of females are divorced. The statistics measure the “crude divorce rate,” which is the number of divorces per year per 1,000 residents; this number takes into account the total population, not just married individuals.

4 Portland, Oregon

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More than 210,000 of the 2.1 million residents of the Portland area are divorced. For females, the divorce rate is 13.7 percent and for males, it’s 10.7. Perhaps leading to the city’s high divorce rate is the fact that it was cited as the unhappiest city in America by Business Week. Factors contributing to couples being on the outs might include that Portland also was named the most depressing city, with 222 cloudy days per year and a high employment rate.

3 Miami, Florida

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The sun doesn’t always shine on marriages in the Sunshine State. CNBC cites Florida as the state with one of the highest divorce rates, so it’s only natural that a few of its cities would be listed here. More than 5.4 million people call Miami home, and almost 540,000 are divorcees; 13.9 percent of females are divorced; the rate for males comes in at just over 10 percent. Miami has been making divorce rate headlines for decades. A 1988 archive of the Palm Beach Post reported Miami as having the second highest divorce rate in the country.

2 Tampa Bay, Florida

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Another spot in Florida makes the Top 5 list of cities with the highest divorce rate. The Tampa Bay metropolitan area—which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater—is home to more than 2.7 million people, and more than 280,000 of them are divorced—11.6 percent of men and 14.2 percent of females.

1 Las Vegas, Nevada

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Thousands of people flock to Sin City to elope each year. However, while the city is known for its “quickie” marriage ceremonies, it also boasts a high divorce rate. The divorce rate is 12 percent for males and 14.6 percent for females. A Las Vegas-based divorce lawyer told CNBC that “the bottomless environment of temptation” might be to blame. Another reason? Couples only need to live in Nevada for six weeks before filing for divorce, meaning unhappy pairs might relocate together just to “un-pair.”

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