Here are the facts about divorce

Figures to show how it increases and decreases in different parts of the world.

The statistics of divorce are very meager. The latest summary was by Carroll D Wright, Commissioner of Labor, who collected figures to show the increase of divorce for twenty years, beginning with 1867. The following are his conclusions:

Country | 1867 | 1886
Belgium | 130 | 354
France | 2,181 | 6,211
England and Wales | 130 | 372
Scotland | 32 | 96
Baden | 19 | 143
Bavaria | 270 | 238
Saxony | 396 | 917
Wurtemberg | 94 | 161
Netherlands | 133 | 418
Poland | 163 | 345
Sweden | 128 | 226
Switzerland | 190 | 396
United States | 9,937 | 25,535

More divorce statistics

Canada had 4 divorces in 1868 and 9 in 1888.

The German Empire had 5263 divorces in 1882, and 8710 in 1889.

Japan had 109,088 divorces in 1890, or one-third the marriages. Separations are, however, included.

Connecticut granted 420 divorces in 1886 and 475 in 1891; Indiana, 1655 in 1886, and 2235 in 90 out of 92 counties in 1891. Massachusetts granted 565 divorces in 1886 and 1045 in 1893; Minnesota, 379 in 1886 and 576 in 1892.

Divorce is on the increase every where except in Italy and Austria. The increase is seen in countries of the Greek church, the Lutheran and other Protestant communions and in some Roman Catholic countries.

In the United States, divorce increases two and a half times as fast as the population. In the United States, 65.8 percent of the divorces are granted on petition of the wife.

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In the United States, 38 percent of the total are granted for desertion, 20 percent for adultery, 16 per cent for cruelty and 4 percent for drunkenness. These are the legal pleas. They do not indicate the real causes. Thus, one-half of all divorces for drunkenness in the United States occur in Illinois, Ohio, Iowa and Massachusetts, which indicates that conditions in those States favor the use of that plea.

The special examination of 29,665 divorce cases in 45 counties in twelve selected States shows that in 20.1 percent of the whole number intemperance is a direct or indirect cause. In these 29,665 cases, the average period of married life between marriage and separation was 6.81 years, while the average period between separation and divorce was 3.02 years, making 9.83 years from marriage to divorce.

For the United States, the average married life before divorce for a period of twenty years, for which the statistics was collected, was 9.17 years. As a rule, it is longest in the older States.

Out of the total of 328,716 divorces granted in these twenty years, 25,371 were granted to persons who had been married 21 years and over, or on an average, 29.65. The largest number, however, 27,909 had lived together four years. The next largest, 27,290, three years; 21,525 had been married two years, and 15,622 only one year.

In 14.6 percent of the cases, the positive statement was made that there were no children. Where children appear in divorce proceedings, the average is 2.07 to each couple.


Top illustration: “Divorced” sheet music cover, written by Charles Moreland, featuring a photograph of vocalist Annie Whitney. (1893)

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About this story

Source publication: The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California)

Source publication date: November 20, 1898

Filed under: 1860s, 1880s, 1890s, Love & marriage

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