Marriage and Divorce data: National Center for Health Statistics annual reports

Tags: Divorce Statistics, Data Analysis

By Valerie Keene

Published Jul 21, 2022

Each year the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) compiles divorce data reported from most states.

These reports are useful for understanding how marriage and divorce rates are changing across the U.S. over years and decades.

We did the hard work converting this data to a spreadsheet so it’s more useful for analysis. Download it here.

Although incomplete because some states do not provide data, and labeled as “provisional”, these reports are still useful because they are the longest-running regular reports on marriage and divorce rates in the U.S.

For example, we can see that in 1990 Illinois had nearly three times more divorces per 1,000 people than it did in 2019. In fact, a general decline in divorce rates in recent decades is a nation-wide trend.

And then there are the more remarkable numbers. Nevada saw an astounding 99 marriages per 1,000 people in 1990 – more than six times higher than Hawaii’s. We can also see that Nevada and Hawaii have consistently been the top two most popular places to get married (relative to how many people live there), though each is popular for very different reasons.

Hawaii photo by Luke McKeown on Unsplash. Las Vegas photo by Matthias Mullie on Unsplash.

Unfortunately, this data is published as PDFs. At least, that’s the only form we could find. Publishing data in PDFs can make it tricky to use in analysis.

To make this data more useful to more people we converted it into a spreadsheet that anyone can access. You can download it here (go to “File” and then “Save As”).

There are two sheets each for divorce and marriage data, with the columns sorted older-to-newer and vice-versa. And there’s one sheet with all divorce and marriage data formatted for inserting into a database or a data visualization tool.

Please let us know what you end up using this data for!