STATE AND NATIONAL DIVORCE RATES
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a yearly survey conducted by the Census Bureau to gather data and provide analytical reports on the demographics and socioeconomic status of American people.
The number of divorces that have occurred annually may be calculated and reported using this information. The ACS chose not to produce its annual report for 2020 since it could not collect reliable data due to the pandemic.
Instead, the ACS compiled an estimate-based report. This is why reliable information on national divorce rates in 2020 is unavailable. Much of the information available in 2021 is still being collected and processed. The 2019 data is the most recent reliable year currently available.
DIVORCE RATE METHODOLOGY
The ACS determines patterns by dividing the total number of divorced women in a given year by the total number of women in the population aged 15 and up. Next, we increase by a factor of a thousand. The percentage of divorced women per 1,000 women is calculated by multiplying this figure by 1,000.
It’s estimated that 9.3 out of every 1,000 American women aged 15 and up got a divorce last year, which would be consistent with the national trend. The statistics may not be easy to understand and navigate, but the key point is that using the same methodology year after year can draw meaningful comparisons between the national and state-level divorce rates in the United States.
This will allow one to compare individual states to the national average and determine whether one falls above, below, or are about even with the average.
COLORADO DIVORCE RATE STATISTICS
For 2019, the American Community Survey found that the national divorce rate was 7.6 percent, using the method described above.
As of this year, there were 7.9 divorces per 1,000 people in Colorado. According to the numbers, there is essentially zero difference. The pattern in Colorado mirrors that of the rest of the country. A further intriguing pattern is an apparent decline in divorce rates that was taking place just before the epidemic.
Divorce rates in the United States fell between 2009 and 2019, per data from the US Census Bureau. Divorce rates in Colorado are very similar. With a rate of 9.7 percent in 2009, divorce was quite common in the United States. There has been a notable 2.1 percentage point drop in the national divorce rate.
In 2009, 9.4% of Colorado couples divorced. Once again, there is no evidence to suggest that Colorado’s divorce rate differs from the national average. The state of Colorado continues to mirror national tendencies.
While the ACS has yet to release reliable information on divorce patterns in 2020 or 2021, Colorado has released reports on the number of divorces filed in the state.
COLORADO JUDICIAL DIVORCE RECORDS
The Colorado Judicial Branch maintains records on the number of divorces filed in each district court in the state, making this data available to anybody interested.
There is a report about the total divorce rate in Colorado in 2020 and 2021, albeit the data is obtained differently than the ACS. While the ACS compiles data on divorces overall, the Colorado Judicial Branch only reports the total number of divorce petitions.
In 2019, 24,410 divorce petitions were filed in Colorado, according to the state’s judicial system. There were 22,592 divorce petitions filed in 2020 and 23,273 in 2021. Divorces decreased further in 2021 compared to 2019. So, the divorce rate in Colorado fell in 2020 but then edged up slightly in 2021.
If Colorado’s tendencies mirror the nation’s, we could expect a dip in divorce rates in 2020, followed by an uptick in 2021. It will be interesting to see the results of the ACS survey in for 2021.