NC divorce

North Carolina Divorce Rate – High, but Declining

Divorce will inevitably be a part of life for many North Carolina residents. The good news? The divorce rate in the state has been steadily declining for years. But how does North Carolina’s falling divorce rate stack up compared to other states? Our data team has sifted through the numbers and made some interesting discoveries.

The Rate of Divorce in North Carolina

Using divorce statistics from 2000 through 2017 provided by the Center for Disease Control, we’ve learned that the divorce rate has been dropping steadily since at least 1995. The data collected by the CDC is reflected by the number divorces for every 1,000 residents. You can find the results for most states here.

In 2017, North Carolina’s divorce rate was 3.1 divorces for every 1,000 residents. This was a major drop from a decade prior when the North Carolina recorded 4 divorces per 1,000 residents. Our chart below highlights the precipitous drop in divorces statewide in recent years.

How does North Carolina compare nationally?

While it is good news that divorces across North Carolina have been falling steadily, the state still falls behind the rest of the country in many ways. According to a University of Maryland study reported by USA Today, the divorce rate nationally fell by 18 percent from 2008 to 2016. But during the same period, the rate in North Carolina fell by less than 15 percent.

When it comes to the total number of divorces annually, North Carolina is close to the middle of the pack. It ranks 19th nationally for its rate of 3.1 divorces per 1,000 residents in 2017. This places the state in a four-way tie with New Hampshire, Montana, and Missouri.

Divorce Varies Across Generation

Not every age group is seeing the same drop in divorces. While there is a pronounced decrease in divorces for people aged 22 through 37, the divorce rate for people over 45 has actually increased dramatically. In the are those aged 38 through 44, and their divorce rate appears to have dropped slightly.


Despite increasing divorce rates among baby boomers, there appears to be a trend in North Carolina and across the country in which marriage is more stable than in previous years. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue, or if there are other issues at play.