Skip to content

Divorce rates of the world

April 4, 2007

A reader, Axinia, was keen to know about the divorce rate in India and so I looked it up and found something in the Wiki. In fact I found the divorce rates of the whole world. I am reproducing it all here. While I knew that divorce rates in India were low, I had no idea that they were the lowest in the world.

Its too complex and difficult to enumerate why India has such low rates of divorce. I can only give my own take on it. For one thing, we are a traditional society and therefore divorce is frowned upon. Secondly, most people think of marraige as permanent and give it their best shot. All they have in fact.

However, divorce rates in India were even lower some years ago, less than 1 per cent. If they have increased, it is believed that the reasons are that many educated earning women are walking out of marriages where they are abused.

However, even today it is rare to find couples splitting up if they do not ‘get along’. Generally we Indians have a fairly practical view of marriage. No one really expects to get along at all times, and overall I have seen in the marriages around me that both men and women tend to compromise.

Also, it is a fact that gender roles are more clearly defined here. This results in less conflict on a day to day basis.

I am little curious about the other countries though. For example, I am not sure why there are so many divorces in the United States. Is it because people have an idealistic romanticized view of marriage?

Related Reading: Do children help a marriage?
Reasons for higher divorce rates in India
What kills a marraige quicker: An emotional affair or a physical one?
You can have love in an arranged marriage
Teens and dating in India

162 Comments leave one →
  1. nada permalink
    March 1, 2009 4:12 am

    well you also have to look at the domestic violence rates in those countries, for example India will have a much higner rate of domestic violence that the USA.

  2. Vivek permalink
    March 12, 2009 11:53 pm

    I read this matter i know so many extra marital Affair will happen every day becouse of Blind Faith about Marriage system of India still india n Indian is Backword thinker lot of blind Faith God Makes Marriage in haven, All the Men want women seal Pack of her Sexual Organ,Fack Culture system,if Culture is real thing in the world i Like American Culture bcoz
    American Culture Never Break i never read n listen on Tv Any American Political Party said Their Culture is going to damage.for Women use Club and Pub and xtra marital Affair,Sexual Affair.
    In India 0r any where in The World is Women is Poor in Financial matter she is gulty ,In India Culture Is a Money making Business no one knows what is Culture.
    Every Man want to do Sexual Intrcoures with Other Women but he never want his Wife is doing same.Lot of Indian Men thinking Women is their personel Without pay Servant as Sex machine n so lot of Indian doing More marriage. Lot of Indian doing copy of american life styel that time their Culture is not Breaking.
    when Indian women is strong in Financial matter Divorce rate going to 100% in India then Other World,
    that time India is Biggest Divorce Country in the world.
    That time is coming soon.just don’t give blem American and europen people their culture is bad.
    I say Their Culture is Strong every time u can do any things their Culture never breaks.
    Indian’s r Very Selfish people in the world.

  3. March 28, 2009 2:48 am

    In my two years of being in India, I have noticed that Indians often use low divorce rate of India vis. a vis. Anglo-US countries to imply that ‘arranged marriage is better than love marriage’ or that Indian culture is somehow ‘superior’ to western culture.

    However, the reality is far from the truth. Divorce rates in India are low not because of a prevalence better marraiges but because of the many socio-economic factors that make divorce simply not an option. Inspite of the rapid urbanisation, divorce is still largely a social taboo and/or an economically unviability. For example an Indian housewife with a cheating or abusive husband can’t just walk out of the marriage like a woman in UK or France could. More so, if she has children.

    To illustrate this point further, you could take examples of ‘love marriage’ countries like Italy and Georgia where divorce rates are much lower than in India. This is attributed to the seriousness Italians take marriage as, since in their religiously Catholic/Orthodox societies, divorce is as much of a taboo as it is in India.

    • vasudev permalink
      March 28, 2009 9:30 am

      couldn’t agree with you more! now with the changing and modernising indian society husbands would fall like nine pins hit by a professional (if at all indian women opt for marriages, that is). more than anything modern indian women would not be prepared to accept trash and carry trash forever. this is a change one might see in the move of women from brooms to boardrooms.

  4. sowmya permalink
    June 22, 2009 4:15 am

    hi.. nice post and comments
    i think you’ve just given a cliched, through a western prism kind of opinion… im an urban indian girl and i’ve seen love marriages ending in disasters and arranged marriages working wonderfully… agreed there are a lot of cases of abuse and also walking out of marriage is considered a taboo..( i hope sometimes here women could divorce in such cases without any burdens of society etc.)… that just does’nt mean all arranged marriages are like that!

    you need to understand how it works… arranged marriages happen mostly(just generalising) between people from the same caste…I don’t say the caste system is something to be proud of when used opressively but it’s worked well for arranged marriages coz there are things that are common between people belonging to the same caste as in food habits, traditions(as diverse as india is known to be having), clothing and sometimes even mindsets and so it becomes easier to deal with basic day 2 day life … I don’t say this guarantees compatibility and love but there have been quite a few cases of arranged couples who’ve fallen in love! … for eg. sakes i’ve heard stories of how much my grandfather( he’s left us) loved and cared for my grandmother and this was pre-independence time in the 1940’s so it goes without saying they had an arranged marriage!

    P.S: (I’ve heard even shahjahan(who built taj mahal) and mumtaz had an arranged one) haha very silly i know! just happy it worked so well for them and i could see the taj!!:D

  5. Jacko permalink
    September 25, 2009 4:20 pm

    I think major reasons why marriage collapse easily or why we have high rate of divorce in western world is due to their culture.This is a situation where women thought they aqual to men in status and in everything.We need to understand that where there is no head or leader for an organisation or a group,there will be anarchy.For a marriage to succeed,wife must submit totally to her husband while the husband in turn must love his wife.We should forget the so call jargon-women libration.I am not saying men should enslave their wife.

  6. Saravanakumar permalink
    September 30, 2009 2:38 am

    A better question to ask is who is more happier in their marriage. I am sure Indians will rank either in the middle or towards the lowest on the scale. Practical doesnt mean happiness. I would agree with one of the comments here which talked about more individual freedom equals more divorces. I am sure in the next 20-30 years when women get more educated and free in India, the divorce rate will shoot up.

    • sujen permalink
      October 10, 2009 1:18 pm

      i am sorry to say i do not agree with you, majority of indians are happy,indian are better at managin marriage i am a firm beliver.

  7. October 7, 2009 1:17 pm

    You speak the truth. As an American I can attest to how sick and broken this “culture really is. There is no sense of community and a very weak sense of family at best. The west is collapsing,economically and “culturally”. to say that the high divorce rate is a sign of success is to suffer from a mental disorder.

    • October 9, 2009 12:06 am


      You might be right saying high divorce rate in west may attest the sick and broken culture of west.But you have to see the other side of indian culture which may look strong in the sense of family and all but you have to know some of the characteristics….

      1) Marriage in india is decided on the class of the partners in both love and arranged.
      2) people in india see the husbands and wife salary as a clause for the marriage.
      3) Indian people go for an arranged marriage even if the partner is incompatible just for the sake of business agreements like dowry,boy’s money and status or business,In-laws money status..etc.or vice versa
      4) Most of the Indian couples individually go for extra martial relationships due to non compatibility with their partners but they never ever share it in public life.
      5) Most of the Indian women keeps boy friend just for pre-martial sex..that too indian women go for multiple boy friends concept of boy friend like west where boy friend is a steady relationship.same holds good for Indian men also.

      see, Indians they sacrifice their family life for the sake of family and with a veil both men and women go for their passions as and when required without disturbing the family life..that s how it is..If you ask me which is the best ..for me the western way is the best.. free and frank ..So now i am sure you wont like Indian way..

      • vasudev permalink
        October 30, 2009 1:44 pm

        kumar…if all that u said is true abt the indians sexual priorities then the indian style is the best…like fishing w/o wetting your hands

      • srinivas permalink
        February 18, 2011 5:00 pm

        i dont know how u got conclusions 4) and 5) ie most of indian women have extramarital relationships that is absurd.. thaey are the most sexulally oppressed. may be you want make indian way is absurd and western way is the best.

      • madhu permalink
        July 6, 2012 2:16 pm

        Gentlemen, the above statement is purely Mr. Kumar’s view and it is not completely false, hence its not completely true for sure! The above case looks like selective case study including his own…

  8. Alex permalink
    October 17, 2009 5:23 am

    Well, there is more to what has already been said and oneone has pointed out except a lady that too in a very low voice.

    In United States where I live there are many factors that contributes to the situation.

    1) The Laws: Most of the time divorce laws are woman friendly. It does not matters if the husband was right or woman was right, or who’s fault it was. The woman walks out with good amount of settlement money which is one time or for rest of her life.

    2) Tendency: The woman know about the laws so the exploit these laws, in many cases if your social status is not quite well when you are in your first marriage, the simplest thing to do is get divorced, get good settelment money and start a new life again. If you still feels there is something missing then go ahead and file another one. I think most of the times it works.

    3) The best part is you get the child support if you have children, does not matter if the woman is working on not. The guy has to pay for it. But here once thing should be noticed that even if you are not married but have children then in that case also a woman can claim support. This is very easy, to earn money. This is not always ture but a large group of population is doing that.

    4) social security: Now comes the goverment provided social security benifits. So a woman gracefully lived her life, using above mentioned menthods 1,2,3 and after retirement, she would again enter in a relationship where she would not marry and exploit the denifits provided by goverment to singles.

    5) At the end of this self centerd game, you end up with lot of money, no responsibilites (including children, as that has been already taken care).

    6) If she is not aware of all this there are organizations who would help her out to do this free of cost.

    All this is not cooked, but a very genuine advice given to me by an educated woman who works with me.

    7) Now the frustated men what they do:
    Before marriage they can sign another contract with his future wife. Which would be seperate than the law, this would include the terms an condition in the case of breach of marriage contract. So before they get marriged, he wants to her to agree that in case of divorce, what she is entitled for and what she is not entitled. This happened in many people who belongs to well to class of the society.

    Man also walk out of the marriage thinking that now this is his chance. Also in many other cases he would walk out if he not satisfied and has nothing to loose.

    Apart from that there are many enconomic factors. Why goverments encource divorce or why goverments don’t. The goverment where generally goverment supports the divorce in most of the cases the “the health insurance” lobby is very strong. In United states the goverment spends more than 30% of its GDP on health! in India, goverment spends less than 1% or close to 1. I know many of you would start shouthing and start on this topic that health facilities are not proper or for all in India. But no there is more than talking about health facility. It’s the Health Insurance! It is a very big game, and has political motive to it. So lets not discuss it at this form (also it might be out of context to go into those depths ).

    New generation has seen their parents and people around them moving in and moving out of relationships so they feel comfortable. Although they payed during their childhood, but they have also learned ‘how the things work’ !

    • February 8, 2013 12:27 pm

      This can be a huge trap for men if these kind of women exist!
      Real eye opener if the part related to women is true!

  9. Rosa permalink
    October 30, 2009 12:36 pm

    Western society really disappoints me and I feel ashamed that I live in it. As a youth I find myself growing up in a society where divorce seems to be a norm and people change partners like underwear. I respect and can understand arranged marriages and they seem to work quite well however personally i do not believe that they are a good thing. As a catholic marriage is sacred to me and the most important thing about a marriage is love. I believe that when you make those marriages vows you keep them for life and if I did not truly love someone I could never make them that promise. Catholic marriage is all about committment, faithfulness, and union. It is also about starting a family. I think one of the major problems in western society is that religion has been shoved aside. In my native Australia Christianity is a major religion, but is it a major part of peoples lives? NO. Do you people value the sacredness of christian marriage and the values it teaches? NO. Christians do not believe in sex before marriage; however in western society sex without love or before marriage is a norm. In India religion is a major part of marriage. Marriages tend to work well in India. So maybe its just our loose values that are leading towards higher divorce rates. I mean look at the increased rate of pregnancy in young people that we’ve seen in the 21st century. Some kids get married because they feel they should if they are a having a child together and its these sort of marriages that often dont last. I also think that love relationships can often be mistaken for passion. When you truly love someone you will do anything to spend the rest of your life with them and its more about the emotional side of things than the physical, while often relationships tend to work on passion and passion tends to die after a while and people find themselves unhappy. Personally I have high moral standards. I don’t fit the norm for a young person. I’ve been a loving relationship for two years and still retained my virginity, I plan to get married and I don’t plan have sex till then. The emotional aspect of my relationship is far more important than the physical and I am happy in a relationship where my partner and I have equal standing and we can support each other in everything we want to achieve. Although we have fought many a time primarily because my partner and I are both very stubborn we have survived, because when you truly love someone you learn to compromise.

    • madhu permalink
      July 6, 2012 2:35 pm

      Well said…where there is a love, one has to compromise…Compromise doesn’t mean one is WEAK!

    • Steph permalink
      September 2, 2014 9:05 am

      Very true, society is becoming too materialistic; it’s more about tangibles these days. Morals and true feelings are becoming increasingly undervalued…

  10. Bhavishya permalink
    December 9, 2009 8:59 am

    I am a 2nd generation Indian who spent my entire life in America. I read your post and the responses with great interest, because I am seeing a lot of people in my generation (Indian Americans, or ABCDs, as they are called, now in their 30s) divorcing and wondering why this is greater than it was in our parents’ generation who immigrated from India. A few years ago, before I got married, I might have agreed when I heard about people blaming India’s low divorce rate on “traditionalism”, “pressure to stay married and avoid divorce”, and “women’s lack of independence”. However, after marrying an Indian myself, I feel it is probably that marriage is seen as an institution, and that couples will do anything to make it work in most cases- but often its love for the partner, and not “family pressure” or whatever that makes us want to honor the institution. I know plenty of cases in Indian families, including my parents, where the couple is genuinely happy-including my mother who IS educated (Masters Degree) was raised in a somewhat progressive environment in India (and her’s was semi-arranged). India as you know is a diverse country, and we cannot say that women are always victims in these relationships- some of these happy couples may have traditional relationships and others may have progressive/egalitarian ones-but I cannot see much correlation of that to their happiness. In fact, some of the women in traditional relationships actually seem to like it if they were raised that way. The only thing that seems to correlate to happiness is that the couple had certain expectations, and they got what they expected.
    Our American friends and 2nd generation Indian friends have had higher divorce rates, but they have divorced for all kinds of reasons. There are some reasons that people would see as “valid” reasons for divorce in India- infidelity, domestic violence, even severe personality conflict etc. But usually the reasons are as varied as partners never agreeing on where to go for vacations, to partners no longer finding each other attractive, to partners “never seeing each other” because of work, to sadly, one or both having gone through a personal tragedy such as infertility, serious illness, losing a child or a job loss, which should actually make the couple come closer together if the marriage is strong in the first place. I kind of feel that if people are divorcing for such reasons, they maybe didn’t know what marriage was about – to help, care for and support each other, rather than thinking about their own needs first. I think Western culture places more emphasis on the individual, whereas in India, it is a collectivistic society which places more emphasis on the family-which doesn’t just mean the extended family, but the couple itself acting as a team. It doesn’t mean every marriage in India is healthy, or that there aren’t people who stay together “for the kids” or “family pressure”, but it’s simply not the case that that this is true with every marriage.

  11. Tiffany permalink
    April 30, 2010 6:46 pm


    Which year is this statistic from?

  12. Kipling Goh, MD permalink
    May 10, 2010 4:48 am

    Where is China, the most popous country in the world?

    stats not available. – Nita

  13. May 12, 2010 7:01 am

    Nita, I would say that this statistic is incomplete or overly optimistic about the Indian scenario. The statistics shown represent only aggregate divorce rates. I don’t think the comparison of India with the US would too much even if we were to have a different type of statistic for this, but it is still worth it if we want to analyze it carefully.

    The World Urbanization data reveals that while nearly 48.6% of the world population is living in urban areas, less than 30% of India lives in cities. In comparison, nearly 98% of the United States and Britain live in cities and the US has far more large metropolitan cities than India does. Around 90% in Sweden, Finland, Russia and Germany live in cities. Countries like Singapore and Hong Kong are actually models, because 100% of their populations are urban and we can make an apples-to-apples comparison. Unfortunately Hong Kong is not to be found on the Wiki or on your table. (I’d suspect the divorce rates would be nearly the same as Singapore.)

    You can get this sort of information on the urban population from the UN World Urbanization Prospects Report 2007 update (, but you can’t get divorce rates there. I guess the UN Demographic and Social Statistics ( has some information but India is not listed – I guess because Indian marriages are not very well documented and recorded.

    There could be a huge distinction in the attitudes of people in big and large cities, but that sort of distinction may be in almost all countries. But the most important reason why India’s divorce rates are so low is because a very low percentage of Indian population is living in cities. Divorce rates as a percentage of the married urban population would be more reasonable to compare.

    It would also be interesting to see if there is any effect on the success of the marriage if one partner (in the Indian context, the wife) is not working, if both partners are working in the same organization, if both partners are not in the same organization, but in very closely related fields, at least one partner has a strong rural background, if both partners were born and brought up in cities, if one or both partners are living or earning in some developed nation outside India where the society has come to accept divorces. I am considering the similarity of work etc. as criteria (despite your contrary claim on one blog) because for some reason, American statistics show that the top three common denominators of all divorces were penury, difference in religious faith and lack of college education.

    Another interesting thing would be to see what happens if at least one partner has a public profile, like a politician. For example, consider that almost none of the USA’s politicians have filed for a divorce – not even when the Clinton-Lewinsky affair came to light. I would expect that an act of (physical) infidelity like that should result in an instant divorce. In contrast, the British prince and some Prime Ministers have divorced. In fact Lord and Lady Mountbatten in the 1950s had a less than committed marriage. In India again, politicians rarely divorce. I suspect there is something about marriages and its tendency to last depending on the incentive to make it last. If a divorce could affect something else, people tend to stay in the marriage. Again, rich real estate dealers in the US don’t divorce even if they have to live in a failed marriage. In India, strong family ties could help make very good marriages, but the existing hostility between m-i-ls and d-i-ls could kill everything. In fact I suspect that the majority of Indian divorces are due to “incompatibility” exacerbated by hostility of the in-laws, domestic violence, dowry disputes etc. In fact “incompatibility” may just be Indians’ euphemism for one of these factors.

    I don’t think anyone would have done such an extensive study, but a search for PhD theses in this area may offer some insight.

  14. Wilson permalink
    September 8, 2010 5:15 am

    I would like to point out some issues that were not discussed, and some that were already mentioned. I believe that divorce is becoming more common in the US, because of anti-family laws, and the influence of the media in our culture.

    In my opinion, child support, alimony, no-fault divorce, and abortion should all be abolished. These laws provide an incentive for women to get divorced. Why would a woman remain married, when she can get alimony, child support, the kids, and the house, and have her latest boyfriend move in and live off of the ex’s money? And what sane man would want to get married under this system? Furthermore, why would people value family when it is socially acceptable to kill your own children? People have become greatly demoralized.

    With regards to the media and its effect on our culture, one only needs to look at popular culture to see why people do not take the traditional family and marriage seriously. For example, Jennifer Aniston said that she supports women that choose to become artificially inseminated, implying that father’s aren’t necessary. There are many other examples of celebrities having children out of wedlock. It is the “cool” thing to do. Premarital sex is socially acceptable, being a single mother is fine, having multiple sexual partners is a good thing, and being a virgin is often frouned upon. These attitudes have been shaped and given creedence by the media and Hollywood.

    The feminist movement, and the “gay rights” movement, seem to have the common goal of destroying the traditional family. According to the feminists, the definition of a family is the mother and her children. The man doesn’t matter. And, according to the gays, the definition of a family could be any combination of people: two men, two women, a “transgendered” person and a man/woman, whatever. Some schools are now indoctrinating our children to believe that the traditional family is not the definition of a family, by giving books to them that assert otherwise. There are several of these books.

    I would like to learn more about what groups and individuals are funding the political arms of the feminist and gay movements. I believe there is a systematic and ongoing attack on the traditional family and western civilization.

  15. LunarMovements permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:21 am

    I stumbled across this blog and found the comments very interesting. As an American, I have a slightly different view of why the United States has such a high divorce rate than do some of those who have commented here.

    One thing I noticed was the repeated references to people intending to get married as “the boy” and “the girl”. I am unfamiliar with the average age of Indians as they marry. I infer from these comments that they may be quite young. Currently, the average age for marriage in the US is about 27 for men, and 25 for women. At that age, they are considered men and women, not boys and girls. I don’t know if I am reading too much into this distinction. But it is possible that waiting to marry until the mid-to-late twenties has an impact on the expectations Americans have of marriage. They are also generally living independently in their own households – not with their parents. They are therefore not as influenced by the expectations and desires of their family members with regard to when and whom they marry. They tend to choose their spouses with very little input from their parents, grandparents, and other extended family members. Both the privilege and responsibility for finding a mate lies squarely on the shoulders of each individual. It is seen as a very personal decision, and not something that is generally up for debate by others. While a parent’s objection to a perspective spouse may cause some emotional distress, it is not considered shameful by society in general to marry someone of whom one’s parents do not approve. Taking all this into consideration and comparing it to many of the comments above, it is easy to draw the conclusion that many Americans have a very different manner of choosing their spouses than do many Indians. Now I’d like to comment of why they choose to marry.

    The overwhelming majority of marriages here in the US are so called ‘love matches’. Two people meet, fall in love, and decide to marry. While there may be other factors that go into their decision to marry, the primary motivation is their love for one another. For many people in the US, the notion of two people either getting married or staying married to one another without being in love is completely foreign and bizarre. A ‘loveless’ marriage is seen as aberrant and incomprehensible. Romantic love is seen as an absolute requirement for marriage.

    In my opinion, the high rate of divorce in the United States is due primarily to one thing. That is the notion that marriage is about love, and love alone. And where that love no longer exists, a continuation of the union is seen by many as unnatural and unhealthy – both for the man and woman, and for the children of the marriage. There is a wide spread belief here that couples who stay together after love has left the marriage provide a bad example to their children. Such children are said to have a poor role model for how a ‘healthy’ relationship functions. And so many unhappy couples with children believe they are doing their children a favor by admitting that their marriage is over and proceeding to get a divorce.

    The bottom line is this: where marriage is seen as only serving one function, it is secure only so long as it actually performs that function. In places where marriage is seen as serving many functions other than (or in addition to) the fulfillment of romantic love, it is natural that marriages are more secure. In such cases, there are simply more reasons to stay together than there are to break up.

  16. November 1, 2010 4:41 pm

    I am not sure I have all the inputs necessary to form an exact and justifiable opinion, but I’d like to get attention on a few points:

    1. I would suspect that a definite part of the low-numbers emanate from poor statistics collected. We are not a society that registers marriages and separations. Everyone of us have come across dis-functioning marriages amongst the uneducated – the migrant security guard, the almost-nomadic construction worker, the abandoned house keeper, so on. There *may* never be a divorce here.
    2. Let us state it – we Indians are not individualistic. As pointed out in several comments above, we think a lot in terms of social communities and are also child-centric. We have no notion of a child breaking free into herself/himself in the society and parent-child relationships are still working out a definition. A dis-functional marriage in such a scenario is no better than divorce. It doesn’t mean couples are ‘happy’.
    3. We are a largely *rural* (community-think matters!), *resource-scarce* (can’t afford fragmentation, income from farm/property and not from skills, marrying into related families, so on), *un-educated*, *patriarchal* society. These put pressures against divorces but doesn’t automatically make marriages ‘work.
    An urban-rural, educated-uneducated, so on break-up in statistics might reveal more. Notice how each of these factors affect:
    – An urban setting allows for more individualistic attitude than a rural setting where behaviors can be codified. India is rapidly urbanizing (and is one of the chief factors for economic efficiency and GDP growth)
    – A resource scarce society can’t afford or is not capable of acquiring new resources in the form of land, education, job or opportunities so it becomes important to conserve what is already present.
    – Education is an empowering factor. We can’t take the divorce statistic and leave out the literacy statistics. Without an hugely democratizing factor like education, people can be trapped to their specific social situation without recourse.

  17. KalipsoRed permalink
    November 8, 2010 5:18 am

    This is an interesting topic! I’m from the USA, but I have 3-4 friends of Indian heritage who are in an arranged marriages. I do believe that divorce rates say little to nothing about a cultures ‘working’ or ‘not working’ marriages. It only says that more people stay married than do not. Finances, education, and the fear of being shunned in your society play a huge part in a couples’ decision to stay married or not to stay married.

    If you take a look at changes in the last 30 – 50 years of marriage statistics in the USA, a rapid increase has occured. Also in the last 30 – 50 years the movement towards equality for women has taken place. In as such women here do not need a man to live…nor the support of their family. They can make it on their own and thus do not have to stay in a marriage just to survive.

    A certian amount of divorces here are due to people not taking responsiblity to work at their marriage when things are not going well, however, I do not believe that number is as high as the rest of the world thinks it is. Many of the people I’ve heard of divorcing have been married 10 to 30 years ( I work as a nurse so I hear a lot of people’s life stories). Most often the reason for divorce is cheating, the next is financial issues. Cheating is the most interesting when looking across cultures. In general (please realize I’m not saying any particular culture here) in most cultures it is ‘acceptible’ or at least tolerated for a man to have extra marital sex. It is often less tolerable for a women to do so. So just because the divorce rates are low in a country, that does not mean that men are not having sex with other women. Here I don’t have to put up with a man who cannot be loyal to me. I will also say here that even though afairs happen, couples tend to try to make it work any way….at least through one indiscression.

    I think that while gender roles are not as rigid here, I know many women who would like to be stay at home moms and support their families in that manner. However, this is not something that is often possible for the majority of middle class couples. Most middle class couples both have to work to afford a house, utilities, and other living expenses plus be willing to do all the house hold chores themselves. For the people who are not flexiable about gender roles, this could be a real issue. What person, man or woman, would want a spouse who leaves the majority of the financial responsibilites PLUS the household and child rearing chores to them?

    Furthermore, from what I know of India through my friends there is a great disparity among the wealthy and the poor in India. I think if a closer study was done about marriage in India you would possibly find that the poorer sector of the population stay married because they have to for survival, not because they are healthy marriages.

  18. January 24, 2011 9:39 pm


  19. nvijaysudhakar permalink
    February 26, 2011 11:58 am

    Can we have the actual numbers please? percentage gives u a wrong perspective because it is based on population. If country A has 100 people, 1% divorce rate means 1 out of 100 marriages fails. If country B has 500 people, 1% divorce would mean 5 out of 500 fail (number of people divorcing in B is more than A, but doesnt necessarily mean that marriages are successful, all that it could indicate however is B is more conservative in terms of divorces…. not necessarily a happy married life). Divorce rate is not an ideal indicator for a happy married life…

  20. Monish permalink
    March 29, 2011 4:04 pm

    Dear Nita,

    The statistics donot give true picture . The stats that you have is for number of divorce per 100 marriages.
    In some countries they have very few young people because of demographic changes, hence no new marriages. But old couples might get divorced skewing up the statistics.
    In country like India where most of the population is young we can expect more marriages.

  21. Monish permalink
    March 29, 2011 4:38 pm

    Yea funny to see all the peoples comments about morality , etc , but its not the true picture and has nothing to do with it =)

    You can look at the new link in wiki for a more better picture , but then it also does not reflect the true picture, as in that year maybe some of the divorce got remarried in the western countries and are counted as married , in India that would be much harder for a woman to get remarried.

  22. Jag permalink
    April 5, 2011 1:48 am

    I think when collecting statistics on a single topic, the extremes tell you something: USA = most women liberal and open society and home of the most atheists. India = largely caste based and role oriented and highly religious. These primarily drive the divorce rate. The rest of discussion are the effect of this on marriage (cheating, violence, money, manipulation, control).
    The truth is the happiest marriages are where these factors are all balanced
    1) Kids are educated by parents about importance of marriage and society and religion in choosing mate and balancing these factors.
    2) At latest by the time their 30, kids find a love, or parents arrange something for them that will grow into love they can’t find.
    3) Family either is for or against the marriage, kids make decisions based on their upbringing. Do they want exclusive family support, to be completely autonomous?
    4) After decision is made, family supports the decision and be happy for them. The strength of the bond, will be some combination of strength of family bond + strength of new couples bond with each other.
    5) Due to all this couple does feel indebted to stay together because of the societal support.
    If still not worth the effort, then divorce and try again. Families support.

    The truth that neither USA or India’s system is all that great when you take it to the extreme. But the system above is combination of arranged+free choice, that is now practiced by the more successful, happy families. The problem is most people are not balanced in this approach, either are self-proclaimed high-society thinker, or religious self- righteous.
    The real question is which society will get closer to this ideal in the future will surely prosper in their next generations. It will be interesting.

  23. S Lakshmmi permalink
    April 5, 2011 8:53 am

    The credit goes entirely to the Indian women ! But a part of it to Social stigma & forbearing husbands. Let us keep our fingers crossed till next update.

  24. anonymous permalink
    June 5, 2011 1:59 am

    The Indian government also plays a manipulative role in keeping these statistics low (maybe to brag about it).

    Knew a close family member who got an arranged marriage but to a very abusive man. He beat her black and blue multiple times and once he even pushed her 80 year old grandfather down the stairs when the grandfather was trying to stand up for her. She went to the police and they refused to file a case because a case would ruin his career. She filed for a divorce but the court ruled in his favor because there was no case of violence ever filed (which could’ve happened if it wasn’t for the police) and the marriage has not lasted even one year. So here is a 23 year old girl who has so much life ahead of her but is forced to stay with an abusive man.

    So the Indian judicial system and the police are very corrupted because they don’t consider ethics. So yes, divorce rate is high in Western Society but at least people behave humanely. These statistics are nothing to be proud of!

  25. June 28, 2011 3:45 pm

    I know of India through my friends there is a great disparity among the wealthy and the poor in India. I think if a closer study was done about marriage in India you would possibly find that the poorer sector of the population stay married because they have to for survival, not because they are healthy marriages.

  26. Jenine permalink
    July 2, 2011 5:50 am

    I like this chart. India is number one for lowest divorce rates in the world, Sri Lanka number two and then Japan peaks in at number three. I personally think it’s good that India ranks first place on this chart. It’s even better that Japan peaks in at just number three since i really favor the Japanese a little too much. The reason why a lot of countries have lower divorce rates than in the US is because of stronger family values.

  27. Ron permalink
    September 19, 2011 5:34 am

    Can you provide a direct link to your source for this? I’m doing some research on this and the Wiki links to a Wikipedia page that has a different table which shows only the crude divorce rate (ie. 1 in every 1,000 per year) rather than the percentage of people who were married that are now divorced. Thank!

  28. fenny permalink
    October 1, 2011 11:09 pm

    The reasons for the low divorce rates in India have being beautifully given by many of the viewers. Here is a reason I think is also responsible for the lower rates of divorce in India. The foremost reason I think that the Indians(or Indian families) are society centered then there are self centered, in simple words the importance given to the society is greater then importance given to ones own ideas. The first thing that strikes in to the minds of most Indians when getting started with anything is, if I do this thing(may be it divorce or any other thing) what will others think of me. Even if though one likes to do it, just because of the fear of the society many of them withdraw their idea and the same is in the case of divorce. I remember in one of the post above saying that the Indians couples compromise in their marriage I think act compromising is done in two conditions compromising for the loved ones and compromising because there is no way out. Even though both cases do exist in India I just want you to judge which one is the major case. The other reasons are given by other viewers. To strengthen my reason I would like to cite an example as its an open fact that our society(people are) is obsessed with matters like honor, prestige ,respect, etc lets just suppose that a married couple who hail from some respected family could not get along and so got divorced, as because their children are divorced the parents think that they lost their respect in the society as they think that divorce is some crime so there is no wonder if the parents die of grief or even commit suicide if they consider respect or honor is most important then their own life. So what would that couple do if they knew that this was going to happen. Unlike any other Western countries the children are associated with their parents for a very long time because of which they could predict the reaction of their parents on any serious matters like divorce. So even if I were in the same example I cited I would rather give up the thought of divorce then killing my parents.

  29. October 17, 2011 2:33 am

    I believe US marriages dissolve for many reasons. For one, we are fed thousands of love stories where there’s always a “happily ever after,” no matter what. Those stories fail to show the daily grind, the unavoidable monotony that every day life can become, and the fact that once love is “conquered,” it can fast lose it’s appeal. Thus leaves us with unfaithful spouses and lots of broken, unattainable dreams.
    I think also in the US we’re shown that sex and intimacy before marriage is completely normal. It’s not, and it’s becoming obvious why. Sex is the greatest, deepest level of physical intimacy two people can attain. It’s not meant to be entered into lightly. Sex was meant to be the culmination of finding and getting a person, and loving them for everything they are as a person prior to being a sex partner. Dreams, goals, personalities, faiths, tastes, lifestyles and pet peeves are supposed to be found and understood first, thus building a solid foundation. Getting married is to show undivided commitment to this person you have so come to know and love, and sex is meant to be the glue between those two people after they’ve made that commitment, the grandest display of fireworks to commence a brand new life together.
    Waiting for sex also drives people crazy. it’s this craze that leaves those who’ve waited for it enjoying it far longer in marriage than partners who’ve been having sex for years prior. Getting bored in marriage is a huge reason for cheating, and cheating is a huge reason for divorce.
    There’s, of course, many other details that lead to the level of divorces in the US, but premature intimacy is a huge reason. It’s also a million dollar paycheck in the pockets of divorce lawyers, long before marriage or divorce ever happens.

  30. Mike permalink
    March 1, 2012 11:53 pm

    I don’t think you can attribute the low divorce rate in India to a lack of female opportunities. Compare India’s divorce rate to several Muslim countries that are far more conservative and where women are clearly far worse off and you’ll find India’s rates are much lower. Now what explains that? Liberals fail to explain the difference because they cannot fathom divorce rates being lower despite being more political rights for women than other countries.

    I think what explains India’s astronomically low divorce rate is not so much lack of political opportunity, but a strong culture, which is a good thing because it means that marital relationships are kept together not by force but by true love and commitment. India is where relationships are based on complex ties that those in the Western world cannot begin to imagine. Couples give more or try to give more to their relationships, children are the center of a relationship, its based on not only love but commitment, couples tend to be more practical about their relationships when they hit lows, and relationships are tend to binding not so much like bondage (like how people look at stuck marriages here) but as emotional investments where the investment is more important than the immediate gratification that one might get by bailing out. I’m not saying that makes Indian better couples all across the board, or even at all, but they put a greater EFFORT into the relationship, and that is what counts with divorce. When you make a strong effort to keep a relationship, you sure as hell are not going to dissolve a relationship because things don’t happen perfectly and you prove a commitment that can stand tribulations.

    Political rights are important, but culture is just as important with divorce. Stronger “cultures” like Italy and France have lower divorce rates than America and England and I don’t see women having fewer rights there. Look at the divorce rate in Japan. India. Much lower than in Muslim countries where women have fewer rights. I would consider Italy, Japan, and India perhaps the most profound cultures there are out there and so its no surprise.

  31. Lakshman M P permalink
    April 20, 2012 4:29 pm

    Hi, I have lived in USA for 5 years and I am back in India now. To give you my take on marriage and divorce. There are are a few sides to talk about. In India there is the skewed sex ration problem first where there are only 930 females to 1000 males, the lowest in south Asia. China is even worse. Another point is, irrespective of what any one says…expectations from men are much more in Indian society, the women in the middle class and above, don’t need to do well in school, don’t need to go to work either, there is a comfort zone here. Where as men in the poor and middle class have to do well in studies and earn a lot of money and all that expectation. Has any one observed that nobody breeds like Indians, we are going to be 2 billion population in 2060. God forbid! Part of the social obligation among Indians is, along with doing well in studies, making money, is also to get married and have kids. The rigid social blue print in India is to do well in school, then make money, get married and have kids. There is nothing else Indians actually care about seriously! Even in India now the law favors women heavily just like in USA! From my experience the most difficult women to get along were American women, even Indian women are very difficult to get along with! I found east Asian women and east European women and Russian women easy to get along with! American women on the other hand are quite independent by doing well in school and making their own life. In India, women, irrespective of how well off they are, rigidly marry only men who are more academically qualified, and also wealthier by ancestral property and with better earning potential. Very rarely have I seen an exception to this rule! Even in India if people could get divorced easily, meaning there would not be any social taboo, or financial issues with divorce, I am sure even Indians would get divorce easily. From my experience too, even in India, women reject and dump men more often than men rejecting and dumping women, this is a world wide thing, in my view.

  32. asok permalink
    June 29, 2012 4:21 pm

    i am far more interested in the case of Japan.Here is a country which is one of the most developed countries in the world as good as USA.Yet still it is 3rd in the list.Does anyone have any sort of theories on japan’s case

  33. Peter permalink
    March 30, 2014 4:19 am

    Where is Australia? The divorce rate there sky high about 60% highest in the world,You say India the lowest?I find it hard to believe,stats are not properly compiled there I know of Indian man who divorced,I think Ethiopia got lowest divorce ,also no mention of African nations


  1. Article: Why is the divorce rate increasing? - IndusLadies
  2. DIVORCE: Current Era’s “Happy Ending”? « LIFE IS A TWIST
  3. Divorce Rate by Religion - Christian Forums
  4. Divorce – A Cultural Epidemic? | The Spiwe Show

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: