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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Christian Divorce

Term Definition Christian Divorce - more frequent than among the less observant.
Application in Divorce Popular wisdom holds that religious faith binds a family together. "The family that prays together stays together." Like so many other conventional truisms, this one seems wrong.

The so-called Bible Belt of the South, the eleven southern states where Protestant fundamentalism and political conservatism dominates, lead the nation in divorces per 1,000 people.

These states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Suth Carolina and Texas -- averaged 5.1 divorces per 1,000. This compares with nine states in the Northeast -- Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont -- which averaged 3.5 divorces per 1,000 people.

At opposite ends of the spectrum of divorce numbers are Nevada, long a divorce Mecca because of its short residency requirement, which tops the nation with 8.5 divorces per 1,000, and Massachusetts, the lowest, with 2.4 per 1,000 people.

Indeed, the governors of two Bible Belt states, Mike Huckabee and Frank Keating, of Arkansas and Oklahoma, respectively, have initiated campaigns to reduce the divorce rates in their states -- from 6.1 per 1000 and 6 per 1,000, respectively, to 3 and 4.

The rate per 1,000 people for these states should be compared with the rate for nation. Overall, the latest available numbers suggest that the rate per 1,000 people -- the per capita rate, as it is called -- has declined steadily from its peak of 5.3 divorces in 1981 to a low of 3.6 divorces. This is the lowest rate since 1970.

The Bible Belt states may have a higher divorce rate because people tend to marry younger, have lower household incomes and educational levels and a lower percentage of Roman Catholics, a denomination that does not recognize divorce.

See also Divorce Statistics.

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