We know that breaking up is hard to do, even if you’re not a fan of Neil Sedaka. Let’s face it, divorce is never part of anyone’s plan when they get married.
But sometimes relationships don’t work out, and whether it’s straightforward or stressful, angry or amicable, divorce is happening, all around the world, every day - so we thought we’d delve a little deeper into the statistics around divorce in the UK.
Time of the Essence? Here's the Facts in a Nutshell...
- Around one third of all marriages since 1964 have ended in divorce in the UK.
- 42% of married couples are expected to get divorced.
- The average length of marriage before divorce is 12.3 years for opposite sex couples.
- ‘Unreasonable behaviour’ is the most common reason for divorce in the UK
- Over 45s are three and a half times more likely to be divorced than 25-34 year olds.
- 58% of divorcees say they wouldn’t get married again.
- Divorce parties are growing in popularity as people look to celebrate their fresh start.
- We’re streaming millions of divorce and break-up tunes every month.
How Many Brits Consider Calling Their Marriage Quits?
Here’s what we found:
Proportion of married UK adults who feel their marriage is happy, unhappy or neither happy nor unhappy
- 84% of people who are married in the UK describe themselves as being ‘happily married’.
- 8.2% say their marriage is ‘neither happy nor unhappy’.
- And a further 8% say they’re ‘unhappily married’.
But of those of us who say our marriages aren’t happy - what exactly do we plan on doing about it?
Proportion of those unhappily married and those neither happy or unhappily married who plan to divorce vs stay married
As you can see from the graph:
- Three quarters of adults who are unhappily married plan to stay married (76.2%).
- Meaning that just 1 in 4 people who are unhappy with their marriage say they plan a to divorce (23.8%).
Divorce Rates Higher with Age?
Almost 13% of respondents in our survey were divorced, and unsurprisingly, the younger we are, the less likely we are to be divorced.
But from our mid-thirties onwards, there’s a big jump in the percentage of people who are divorced - from 5.7% before the age of 35 to 10.9% after it - and that number almost doubles again with the over 55s!
In fact, people over 45 are three and a half times more likely to be divorced than those under 45.
Divorce Rates Around the UK
The number of respondents who are divorced varies greatly in different areas of the UK. Interestingly, Wales has the highest percentage, with almost one in five (18%) of all Welsh respondents answering that they are divorced.
The North West of England saw the second highest number of divorcees, with 16% of people answering that they were divorced.
Scotland has the lowest number of divorcees, with only one in ten respondents answering that they were divorced, followed closely by Yorkshire and the Humber, where only 8% of people are divorced.
On a city level, Leeds had the fewest number of divorcees - with only 6% of respondents having been through divorce proceedings. This was followed by Edinburgh and Plymouth, which also had very low numbers of divorcees at 7%.
And the city with a seriously high number of divorcees? Manchester, where 18% of all respondents said that they were divorced! Do any of these surprise you?
Romance Isn't Dead
Despite all this doom and gloom making it look like the odds are very much against us married folk - we’re still romantics at heart! A third of all survey respondents said that they were happily married, and that number jumps to almost half (48%) of all over 55s.
We've not given up on the concept of marriage just yet! A quarter of all respondents said that they had never been married but would like to be.
And of the divorcees who responded to our survey, 42% said that they would happily marry again despite having been divorced - hurray, there's still hope!
Half of All Marriages?
According to the Office for National Statistics:
- Around a third (33%) of marriages since 1964 have ended in divorce - but this rate fluctuates from year to year and also depends on how long a couple has been married.
- The most recently calculated figure suggests that 42% of marriages in England and Wales will end in divorce.
- In 2019, 107,599 divorces were granted to opposite sex couples, and 822 to same sex couples - an 18% increase on the previous year, though this is partly down to a backlog of paperwork!
- The current divorce rate is 8.9 per 1000 for heterosexual couples aged 16 and over.
- The divorce rate has been following a gradual downward trend after a peak in 1993, when 165,018 marriages ended in divorce.
- ‘Unreasonable behaviour’ is cited as the most common reason for divorce.
Divorce and Marriage rates in the UK over the last 70 years (based on ONS data)
It's unsurprising that very few couples get divorced during the first few ‘honeymoon years’ of a marriage - but things can start to go downhill after a decade or so!
In 2019, the average length of time that a couple would stay together before getting divorced was 12.3 years (for opposite sex couples).
National Divorce Day
If you are going to file for divorce, you are most likely to do so on ‘Divorce Day’.
Legal firms see a huge spike in divorce applications in the New Year, which has led to the first working Monday in January being dubbed ‘Divorce Day’. A combination of festive stress and the desire for a 'new year, new me' are what’s thought to have tipped couples over the edge and made this day the most popular for people filing for divorce!
Start of Something New
Worldwide monthly searches linked to divorce give some pretty high numbers, with thousands of people using search engines to try to figure out what a divorce entails. We’re also rather keen to know just how much a divorce costs…
Average monthly search volumes obtained from the tool Keyword Finder
Aint No Party Like A Divorce Party!
Average monthly search volumes obtained from the tool Keyword Finder
The popularity of divorce parties seems to have rocketed in the last couple of years, with search volume almost doubling in January 2019 from the previous year.
We’re also very happy to congratulate our friends on their new starts: searches for ‘divorce cards’ have almost quadrupled since 2015!
#divorce has been tagged a staggering 1.6 million times on Instagram posts, with #divorceparty gaining 52,200 tags - and counting.
Both #happydivorceday and #divorceday have been tagged more than 1000 times…
And for those slightly, erm, less amicable breakups, #goodriddance appears more than 147,000 times. We get it. We’ve all been there once or twice!
Just Another Break-Up Song
Whether we want to reflect on a lost relationship or celebrate our new found freedom, we’re streaming millions of tunes to match our mood.
For example, ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’ by Tammy Wynette has been streamed more than nine million times on Spotify - but that’s nothing compared to some of the other big players in the breakup tunes game.
‘It Must’ve Been Love’ by Roxette has been streamed 286 million times, ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ by Little Mix has been streamed a whopping 529 million times on Spotify.
But the top break-up song award obviously goes to Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, which has been streamed more than a billion times. Now that's a lot of break ups!
Spotify streaming numbers available publicly on Spotify.com
So, whether you’re thinking of getting a divorce yourself, congratulating someone on their lucky escape or perhaps just wanting to thank your partner for not divorcing you (yet) - why not browse our collection of Divorce Cards today!