Are Women More Likely Than Men to Instigate a Divorce?

Women initiate the majority of divorces in opposite sex marriages. Women also have a significantly higher divorce rate in single sex marriages and civil partnerships.

  • We have over 100 years of data for divorces between men and women in England and Wales. Since 1924, there has been a consistent trend of women being granted the majority of divorces. This figure peaked in the 80s and 90s when over 70% of all divorces were granted to women. In 2016, 61% of all divorces between opposite sex couples were granted to women.
  • 2014 was the first year that single sex couples were entitled to marry. Since then, women have made up 56% of same sex marriages and 78% of same sex divorces. Of the 112 divorces of same sex married couples in 2016, 87 were to female couples (78%).
  • There were 908 civil partnerships formed in England and Wales in 2017. Almost two-thirds (66%) of all civil partnerships formed in 2017 were between men. There were 1,217 civil partnership dissolutions granted in England and Wales in 2017, of these 57% were to female couples.
  • Every year, more civil partnership dissolutions have occurred between female than male couples. This is despite the fact that historically a greater number of men have formed civil partnerships.
  • The “Dissolution Rate*” for civil partners in 2016 was 46 for women and 19 for men. In other words, women in civil partnerships are 2.4 times more likely to get end their civil partnerships than men.
  • In comparison, the “divorce rate” for opposite sex couples was 9 per 1,000 in that same year. Women in civil partnerships have a dissolution rate which is more than four times greater than the divorce rate for opposite sex married couples.

If this blog was of interest, you can read my earlier article: Who Divorces Whom, And Why? The Behaviours of Women and Men in Divorce.

*Persons dissolving a civil partnership per 1,000 civil partnered male/female population aged 16 and over.

All data sourced from the Office of National Statistics releases “Divorces in England & Wales, 2016” and Civil partnerships in England and Wales: 2017. At the time of posting, these were the most up to date sources of statistics available from the ONS.

Women Divorces

Sylvia Pankhurst Mural by Loco Steve

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