Divorce rate in the United Kingdom

Divorce rates for males and females per 1,000 of the married population aged 16 years and over, England and Wales.

Year of divorce
2002 12.9 12.7
2003 13,4 13,2
2004 13,4 13,2
2005 12,3 12,1
2006 11,5 11,4
2007 11,1 11
2008 10,6 10,5
2009 9,9 9,8
2010 10,3 10,2
2011 10,2 10,1
2012 10,2 10,1
2013 9,8 9,8
2014 9,3 9,3
2015 8,5 8,5
2016 8,9 8,9
2017 8,4 8,4
2018 7,6 7,6
2019 9 9
2020 8,5 8,6
2021 9,3 9,4

Exploring the Divorce Rate Trends in the United Kingdom

Divorce, a deeply personal and societal issue, is a topic that reflects changing norms, values, and circumstances within a society. The United Kingdom has not been immune to the global trend of shifting family dynamics and evolving perceptions of marriage. This article delves into the divorce rate trends in the UK, utilizing available statistics to paint a comprehensive picture of the situation.

The Historical Context

Over the past few decades, the UK has witnessed notable changes in marriage and divorce patterns. From the 1970s onwards, a significant shift occurred, marked by the liberalization of divorce laws, which made the process more accessible and less stigmatized. This change played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of divorce rates.

Divorce Rate Statistics

According to data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), the divorce rate in the UK reached its peak in the early 1990s. In 1993, the divorce rate hit 14.2 divorces per 1,000 married individuals. This surge could be attributed to the aftereffects of the aforementioned changes in divorce laws, leading to a backlog of divorces that were previously difficult to obtain.

However, the following years saw a gradual decline in divorce rates. Between 2003 and 2009, there was a consistent drop, reaching a low of 10.5 divorces per 1,000 married individuals in 2009. This decline was attributed to multiple factors, including changing attitudes toward marriage, increased cohabitation, and the emergence of relationship education and support programs.

Recent Trends

In more recent years, the divorce rate in the UK has exhibited some fluctuations. In 2019, there were 7.3 divorces per 1,000 married individuals, which represented a slight increase compared to the 2018 rate of 7.1 divorces per 1,000 married individuals. This uptick might reflect a variety of factors, including economic conditions, changing social norms, and shifts in family dynamics.

It’s important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic introduced unique stressors to relationships and households. While comprehensive post-pandemic divorce statistics might not be available yet, anecdotal evidence suggests that lockdowns and associated challenges may have had an impact on marital stability.


The divorce rate trends in the United Kingdom underscore the complex interplay between legal reforms, societal values, and changing family dynamics. The initial surge in divorce rates following the liberalization of divorce laws was followed by a period of decline, indicative of evolving societal attitudes. However, recent years have witnessed some fluctuations, suggesting that factors like economic conditions and societal changes continue to influence marital stability.

As the UK moves forward, it is crucial to consider the multifaceted nature of divorce trends and their implications. Societal support structures, relationship education, and open conversations about marriage and divorce will all play vital roles in shaping the future of relationships in the country.

Divorce Rate (Graph)‚Äč