Which Countries Have The Lowest Divorce Rates & Why?

When quarantine regulations took hold, many people wondered how this would pan out for couples already struggling to keep their relationships together. Would being locked up together with only one hour to go out and exercise every day push already struggling couples over the edge?

Once China’s strict lockdown was lifted, we saw a spike in divorce enquiries. And this behaviour was mirrored around the world. In the US, the UK and throughout Europe, divorce rates have spiked during the pandemic.

These are all countries with typically high and rising divorce rates. Latvia, Lithuania and Belgium lead the way for the highest divorce rates in Europe. And in the USA, between 40-50% of marriages will end in divorce.

So which countries have the lowest divorce rates, and what are they doing differently? The country with the lowest divorce rate in the world is India, this is followed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Turkey.

There are a number of factors at play here, so it’s difficult to place a finger on one single factor that ensures couples enjoy a long and happy life together. And low divorce rates don’t always mean that couples are happy, it can just mean that the importance of marriage outweighs individual happiness.

In this article, we will look at a few factors that can impact divorce rates around the world. As mentioned above, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to keeping a marriage going against the odds. But some cultures may be better positioned to prioritise the tradition of marriage.

Local laws

In many cases, access to divorce is a driving force behind a country's divorce rates. A country like Chile only legalised divorce in 2004, so the concept is still quite new. In a country that has only recently recognised the need for divorce, the local uptake is likely to be much slower. 

In India, Hindus recognise marriage as a sacrament, not a contract, so divorce is not recognised. This means the only divorce in the country is amongst the Christian population, which is relatively small.

Family values

Another key factor in determining divorce rates of a country is the value placed on family life. The countries in the list are all supportive of a wider family network. In Europe, the US and UK, families are more likely to live apart from older and younger generations. 

In countries like Colombia, it’s far more common for multiple generations from the same family to live together. This emphasis on family values places marriage at the heart of everything, so entering into a marriage is a more considered event. 

India also leads the world in arranged marriages, and family counselling when things get tough is far more common than seeking a separation or divorce.

Equality

For a divorce to happen, both parties need to be able to have an equal say. If one party wants to separate but the other wants to stay together, equality is the only thing that will allow this to go forward. 

If the structure of the legal system requires there to be a mutual consent before moving forward with a divorce, this will also reduce divorce rates.

Belief in marriage

Marriage has become a disposable thing in some cultures. Through advising clients in the United Kingdom, it’s easy to see that many couples see marriage as a potential short-term and non-permanent situation. It has lost its once-prized status. 

Marriage has always been a religious ceremony, so the decline of Christianity in the UK and around the world could explain why couples are now adopting more relaxed attitudes towards marriage. 

In some countries, marriage rates are even falling as a result. If there is no value placed in the idea of marriage, couples will be less likely to work through issues rather than seek a divorce.

The religious angle

Countries with a strong religious following are more likely to have low divorce rates. This is because marriage is more sacred when viewed from a religious perspective. Couples will be more likely to seek counselling or simply stay together regardless when they hit bumps in the road. 

Religious teachings also give guidance on how to exist within a marriage, and this is something that atheists will have to seek out on their own.

If you’re curious about how divorce works in the UK, including the arrival of the new “no-fault” divorce, you can head to Wiselaw for impartial divorce information. Some countries in the world might be great at keeping marriages going, but this doesn’t have to work for everyone. 

As you’ve seen above, there are so many factors at play and ultimately you have to do what is right for you. Seeking a divorce doesn’t have to be viewed as a failure; it can help you to get your life back on track and help you work towards a brighter and happier future.

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