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Massachusetts Divorce Statistics and Facts

Currently, marriage rates and divorce rates are on the decline. This is the case throughout the United States with divorce in Boston and throughout Massachusetts as well.

In order to fully understand the statistics for divorce in Massachusetts, it’s important to see some important data from the entire United States so that one can understand the bigger picture, and gauge the metrics on a more local level. There are some Massachusetts divorce statistics that make legal proceedings in places like Boston, New Bedford truly unique.

Current Divorce Statistics in the United States

Here are 7 interesting United States divorce statistics courtesy of our team of Divorce Lawyers in San Diego:

1. In 2016, marriage rates and divorce rates are both decreasing.

2. The United States marriage rate is now approximately 6.8 per 1,000 total population.

3. The divorce rate in the 2014 is 3.2 per 1,000 population (from 2014 data from the CDC with 44 states and D.C. reporting). This is known as the “crude divorce rate”. Although useful for describing changes in divorce rates over time, the crude divorce rate does not provide accurate information on the percentage of first marriages that end in divorce.

4. The average length of a marriage in the US that ends in divorce is 8 years.

5. 60 percent of cohabiting couples will end up getting married. However, living together prior to marriage can increase the chance of getting divorced by as much as 40 percent.

6. The divorce rate for couples with children is as much as 40 percent lower than for those without children.

7. An annual income of over $50,000 can decrease risk of divorce by as much as 30% versus those with an income of under $25k.

Massachusetts Divorce Statistics

Now we can revert the focus back to Massachusetts divorce statistics. One interesting fact is that Massachusetts is ranked one of the lowest state percentages in divorce. According to the current CDC Data, as of 2011, Massachusetts was ranked #5 lowest divorce rate state in the U.S. with a rate of 2.7%.

Even though the percentages are considerably low, divorces are happening every day in Boston and throughout Massachusetts, and people need the help of experienced divorce attorneys in Boston and Massachusetts areas like Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP to help them with their case.

Top 5 Reasons for Divorce in Massachusetts and the United States:

1. Lack of Commitment

2. Frequent or Excessive Arguments

3. Infidelity

4. Married Too Young

5. Unrealistic Expectations

Massachusetts Total Divorce Rate by Population (As of 2014):

Note: These rates are calculated based on the most recent data from 2014 for the American Community Survey (ACS) of total population of MA of people age 15 and older.

  • Percentage of MA residents Divorced in 2014: 10.1%
  • Percentage of MA residents Married in 2014: 46.1%
  • Percentage of MA residents Separated in 2014: 2%

Massachusetts is tied for tenth place in state rankings with 10.1% of people aged 15 or older in the state divorced.

Here’s a Gender breakdown of this statistic:

  • Males 15 years and older: 7.9% divorce rate
  • Females 15 years and older: 11% divorce rate

CDC Reported Divorce Rates in Massachusetts:

Here’s a breakdown from the CDC of Massachusetts divorce rate from 2002 – 2011:

Massachusetts Divorce Rate By Year

Generated by wpDataTables

So, Why is the Divorce Rate in Massachusetts So Low?

There are some speculations on the different factors in play to explain exactly why the divorce rate in Massachusetts is so much lower than other states. There are many factors in play here unique to Massachusetts that truly affect this metric. We have provided some of the leading elements possibly responsible for this:

#1. Higher Saturation of Catholics.

Roughly 44% of the population of Massachusetts is of the Catholic faith. Catholicism has strongly against the practice of divorce, and thus discourages families to separate unless under extreme circumstances.

#2. Larger Percentage of College Grads.

Based on statistics from 2010-2014, an estimated 40% of the population Bachelor’s degree or higher. Because of this, many people that live in Massachusetts wait until after college to get married.

#3. Older Average Marriage Age.

Massachusetts is ranked #2 in the oldest marrying states. According to the US Census, the average marrying age in Massachusetts is 28.8 for women and 30.1 for men.

#4. Lower Marriage Rate.

In 2014, the marriage rate was around 5.6%. The rate back in 1990 was 7.9%. This is a 2.3% drop in 24 years. This decrease is happening across the nation in response to our society’s cultural evolution.

#5. Higher Household Income.

Massachusetts is ranked #5 in the U.S. states with the highest median household income. In 2014 it was reported that the average household income was around $64,859.

The Effect of Divorce Rates in Massachusetts from Gay Marriage Legalization

In the US, about 1 percent of married same-sex couples get divorced each year, while about 2 percent of married straight couples divorce.

Massachusetts has maintained one of the lowest overall divorce rates of any state — both before and after gay marriage was legalized.

As expressed on, states that have legalized same-sex marriage have some of the lowest rates in the country. One speculation for this fact is based upon the fact that a lot of gay couples had already been together for a significant period of time before either gay marriage was made legal, or when the couples decided to get married. The length of a relationship before marriage has a big impact on the divorce rate, as it typically decreases the longer a couple has been together.

Divorce Based on Fault in Massachusetts and Social Media’s Role

Massachusetts is one of 33 states where the courts offer grounds for divorce based on one of the party’s fault. And one of the leading causes of fault is adultery. With the advancements in Technology – including the increased use in social media tools like Facebook, Tinder, Snapchat, Bumble and more – it offers new conduits to infidelity behind the partner’s back.

According to a great interactive infographic about Divorce and Technology on, “Because the actual act of adultery is difficult to prove, circumstantial evidence is sufficient and often used to prove adultery.”

So the simple act of visiting a site like Tinder or Bumble can be used as evidence against the other party.

Additional Statistics about Social Media and Divorce in Boston, MA

  • Reports show that of all divorce proceedings, including those that occur in Boston or throughout Massachusetts, one third of divorce petitions mention the word “Facebook” at one point.
  • In attempt to retrieve proof of infidelity in a divorce case, some parties try to hack into the other person’s Facebook account. This, according to Section 2701 of the Stored Communications Act, is considered a federal crime, and can result in criminal penalties and negatively affect that person in the divorce proceedings.
  • There is such a thing as a discovery subpoena for social media information in Massachusetts, however it can prove difficult to have it ruled in your favor. And if the judge does allow the discovery, it’s doesn’t always go in the attorney’s favor. For example, in one specific case in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth v. Williams in 2010, the court denied evidence from Myspace because of the possibility of manipulation by other than the true user or poster.

Top 10 Towns in Massachusetts with the Highest Divorce Rates

It is worth noting that some areas in Massachusetts have higher divorce rates than others. WCVB in Boston provided a great slideshow, which also was featured on as well, breaking down the towns in the state of Massachusetts with the highest rates of divorce. Below we have provided the Top 10 Massachusetts Towns from that list:

  1. Edgartown: 33.1%
  2. Townsend: 32.5%
  3. Lee: 24.4%
  4. Popponesset Island: 24.1%
  5. Monson: 22.3%
  6. Deerfield: 22.2%
  7. Barre: 21.9%
  8. Siasconset: 21.8%
  9. Popponesset 21.7%
  10. Devens: 21.5%

Multiple Marriages in Massachusetts and Effects on the Statistics

Some people in Massachusetts have been married and divorced multiple times. And this does affect the total statistic for divorce and marriage rates. According to the CDC Census, here’s the percentage of men and women 15 years and older in Massachusetts that have married two or more times between 2008 and 2012:

In Massachusetts:

Men: 17.4%

Women: 16.2%

Within Boston, Cambridge, or Quincy specifically:

Men: 16.6%

Women: 15.4%

Boston, MA Divorce Statistics from 2011 to 2014:

Rate is calculated based on the most recent data from 2014 for the American Community Survey (ACS) of total population of Boston of people age 15 and older.


Males 15 and older: 6.5%

Females 15 and older: 9.0%

Both Sexes Average: 7.75%


Males 15 and older: 6.2%

Females 15 and older: 9.2%

Both Sexes Average: 7.7%


Males 15 and older: 6.2%

Females 15 and older: 8.8%

Both Sexes Average: 7.5%


Males 15 and older: 6.1%

Females 15 and older: 8.5%

Both Sexes Average: 7.3%


Males 15 and older: 6.1%

Females 15 and older: 8.4%

Both Sexes Average: 7.25%


New Bedford, MA Divorce Statistics from 2011 to 2014:

Rate is calculated based on the most recent data from 2014 for the American Community Survey (ACS) of total population of New Bedford of people age 15 and older.


Males 15 and older: 7.9%

Females 15 and older: 11.0%

Both Sexes Average: 9.45%


Males 15 and older: 10.2%

Females 15 and older: 12.6%

Both Sexes Average: 11.4%


Males 15 and older: 10.8%

Females 15 and older: 12.5%

Both Sexes Average: 11.65%


Males 15 and older: 10%

Females 15 and older: 11.9%

Both Sexes Average: 10.95%


Males 15 and older: 10.6%

Females 15 and older: 12.2%

Both Sexes Average: 11.4%


If you are involved in a divorce, it’s important to have an experienced Boston divorce attorney on your side.

Contact our team today at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP for a free consultation about your case at our Boston office at 617-795-3611 or our New Bedford office at (508) 316-9720.

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