Divorce in the United States 2008-2010

Research Question: Where do divorced individuals tend to live in the United States?


For my data visualization project I chose to depict divorce in America. I gathered my data from DataFerrett.gov and selected divorce and marriage as variables. I also found the shapefiles for a map of the United States. I then prepared the data in Excel and calculated the percentage of divorce by dividing divorce by total. I transferred the data into ArcMap and joined the data in the first layer. I then formatted the map by changing the colors, adding a legend, title and data explanation.


When interpreting the map displayed, I contemplated different reasons that could explain why a particular state may have high or low divorce rates.

Factors such as economic stress and low income may play a role in the high divorce rates in states such as Maine, Mississippi and Louisiana. Divorce related laws in these states could also be more flexible and much easier to obtain. Florida and Louisiana also have big cities such as Miami and New Orleans which are notorious for their party atmospheres and could lead to infidelity. Nevada’s high divorce rate is pretty obvious to me. It is the home of Sin City and spontaneous marriages. Most of these spontaneous marriages are regretted by couples and are the cause of the highest divorce rate in the United States.

I could not think of any obvious reasons to explain the low divorce rates in New Jersey, Minnesota and North Dakota. The high Mormon population and how they value their culture and religion could explain the low divorce percentage.

It would be interesting to compare variables such as wealth, poverty, education level, and age at first marriage with my map. This information could provide even more insight for the individual states divorce percentages. Overall, my conclusions are based off of my knowledge and assumptions. My observations would have to be supported by much more research on these states to be considered accurate.

Divorced in the US Map

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