Tennessee in Top 10 Among States with Most Divorces

April 14 is National Ex-Spouse’s Day. While it’s not likely that people are buying flowers for their former flames, they might be paying alimony.

Tennessee has the 10th highest divorce rate in the country, in a basic tie with Kentucky, Mississippi and Utah. What’s the cause for all the marital strife in Tennessee? Maybe, in the country capital of the world, it’s the music. Whether it’s Tammy Wynette’s 1968 hit “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” Jerry Reed’s “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)” (1980) or George Strait’s “Give it Away” (2013), virtually every country superstar of the last 60 years has a divorce song and the genre is filled with ballads of lovin’ and losin’ and leavin’.

BetTennessee.com took a break from its usual coverage of Tennessee sports betting to analyze national divorce date. We used data from Hyattsville, Maryland-based National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to determine the states with the highest and lowest divorce rates per 1,000 women in the year 2021.

Here is what we found:

Rank State Divorce Rate
1Nevada4.2
2Oklahoma3.8
3Wyoming3.7
T4Alabama3.6
T4Arkansas3.6
T6Florida3.4
T6Idaho3.4
T8Kentucky3.3
T8Mississippi3.3
T8Tennessee3.3
T8Utah3.3
12North Carolina3.2
T13Alaska3.1
T13Virginia3.1
15Colorado3.0
T16Missouri2.9
T16North Dakota2.9
T16Washington2.9
T16West Virginia2.9
T20Arizona2.7
T20Maine2.7
T20Oregon2.7
T20Rhode Island2.7
T24Delaware2.6
T24District of Columbia2.6
T24Nebraska2.6
T24New Hampshire2.6
T24Ohio2.6
T29Connecticut2.5
T29Montana2.5
T29South Dakota2.5
T32Pennsylvania2.4
T32South Carolina2.4
T34Iowa2.3
T34Michigan2.3
T34Vermont2.3
T37Georgia2.2
T37Louisiana2.2
T37New Jersey2.2
T37New York2.2
41Wisconsin2.1
42Kansas1.9
43Maryland1.6
44Texas1.4
45Illinois1.3
46Massachusetts1.0
* — NCHS data does not include divorce rates for California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, or New Mexico.

 

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Closer Look at Tennessee Data

While Tennessee’s divorce rate of 3.3 per 1,000 inhabitants is nearly half of what it was 30 years ago – thank a falling marriage rate – the state has some of the highest divorce rates in the country. In Madison County, people are splitting up at a rate of 9.9/1,000. In Tipton County it’s 8.2, 6.9 in Montgomery and over 5 in Cumberland and McNairy. 

Four of those five counties have less than 100,000 residents.

One obvious reason for Tennessee’s high divorce rate is that the state has a very high marriage rate – that’s 7th in the nation. More people getting married means more people getting divorced. That’s much simpler than churning out consistent winners on Tennessee sports betting apps.

Tennessee marriage was in the news last year when its state legislature, now better known for its work last week, put forth a common law marriage bill that excluded same-sex couples. It also excluded a minimum age requirement but that was just an oversight. The minimum age to wed in Tennessee is 17 with parental permission. The spouse may not be 4 years older than the 17-year-old. At 18, parents have no say, and you can marry Rupert Murdoch.

Last month, Tennessee passed another bill allowing county clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex, interracial or interfaith couples, if the clerk objected to the marriage based on his/her personal beliefs.

That’s one way to keep the divorce rate down. Just don’t let people get married.

Stay close to BetTennesse.com for stories of interest and news and analysis on sports betting as well as for Tennessee sportsbook promotions.

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Author

Howard Gensler is a contributing writer to BetTennessee.com. Gensler is a veteran journalist who has worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.