Utah’s divorce rate in 2020 was 3.2 per 1,000 people, says the Office of Vital Records and Statistics. The United States as a whole had a divorce rate of 2.3 in the same period. What’s happening?
People get divorced for all sorts of reasons, but Utah has a very high number of splits. Researchers say the divorce rate has changed 5% since 2011, and it’s not moving in the right direction.
Understanding why more people get divorced could help you make smart decisions before you say “I do” in Utah.
Utah divorce rate statistics
A plot of Utah’s divorce rate would look like a straight line pointing down. In 1990, the figure was 5.2 per 1,000 people. In 2000, it was 4.5. In 2010, it was 4.1. And in 2020, it was 3.2.
Fewer Utah couples are getting divorced now than in the 1990s. But the rate remains stubbornly high.
Overall, about 9% of people in Utah identify as divorced. With such a high divorce rate, this figure suggests plenty of people break up with one partner and find someone new to marry.
Utah’s overall marriage rate has risen 7% since 2011, suggesting that more marriages are happening now. It’s possible these second marriages will be more successful than the first versions.
What factors increase the chance of divorce in Utah?
Every divorce is different, and many divorces stem from deeply personal issues that can’t be captured in a survey or study. But researchers know that some issues are closely related to a high divorce rate.
Those issues include the following:
- High cost of living: Balancing a household budget is difficult when families face steep housing and food expenses. This type of strain can end an otherwise healthy and profitable union.
- Limited access to medical care: People agree to stay married in sickness and in health, but stress related to health issues and tension related to finding a good doctor or certain specialists can break the strongest union. Untreated mental health issues can cause breakups too.
- Poor employment opportunities: Some people accept long commutes to make money for their families. In time, they may feel so disconnected from their partners that divorce (and relocation closer to the job) seems smart.
- High substance abuse rates: While Utah is synonymous with clean living, pockets of drug and alcohol abuse exist. Living in situations with substance abuse present can strain a marriage.
What Utah counties have the highest divorce rates?
Some Utah counties stand apart from their neighbors for their very high divorce rates. These are a few of the spaces we identified in our research:
Grand County is a relatively small spot in Utah, so its numbers may be skewed, but this location is associated with a strong divorce connection. Moab sits in the middle of the county, drawing in many tourists. As people come and go in the area, infidelity might feel like an easier choice if the person is leaving the area soon.
Carbon County sits in the middle of the state, and it’s bordered by the Green River. This portion of the state is closely associated with industrial industries, including natural gas production.
Hard labor and ups and downs in demand can lead to intense household stress. When people aren’t sure their jobs are solid, their marriages can deteriorate.
Rich County is located in the northeastern corner of the state, and it’s the third least populous Utah county. Much of the land is used for cattle production. Difficult years for cattle can lead to intense financial stress for families.
Additionally, the county is plagued by temperature inversions leading to cold temperatures and smog. Families trapped inside can bicker and argue until divorce seems like a smart solution.
What Utah counties have the lowest divorce rates?
The following Utah counties are closely associated with low divorce rates, according to our research:
Utah County is home to both Provo and Orem, large metropolitan areas with robust employment opportunities and recreational spaces.
Widely recognized as one of the fastest growing counties within the United States, married couples see their property values rising and their potential for prosperity increasing. It’s easier to maintain a solid relationship when financial stress isn’t part of the picture.
Cache County is located in the uppermost portion of Utah and home to Logan. This county has a large proportion of families with children. Sometimes, raising offspring can draw two people closer together and ensure they stay connected to provide a strong family foundation. Couples may be less likely to divorce in an effort to keep the family unit together.
Morgan County is in the northern part of the state. It’s a very mountainous and scenic region with creeks and rivers running all year long.
While the population is small, it’s relatively prosperous. Few families live below the poverty line. Affluence tends to keep couples together, as they don’t face the stresses that come with budget shortfalls.
ReferencesComplete Health Indicator Report of Marriage and Divorce. (December 2022). Utah Department of Health and Human Services.
States Where Marriage and Divorce Are Declining. (February 2023). Quote Wizard.