A new study documents Tulsa is home to the second highest divorced population in the nation. Economic, legal, and social shifts reshaped marriage from a faith based standard in the second half of the 20th century, and states began to adopt no-fault divorce laws throughout the 1960s and 1970s that made it easier to end a marriage. Meanwhile, changing social and cultural attitudes have made it more common for couples to cohabitate, combine finances, and raise children prior to getting married—or without getting married at all.
These trends have contributed to a decline in the overall number of marriages, and affected how likely married couples are to stay together. Researchers calculated the percentage of adults currently divorced and ranked cities accordingly.
In Tulsa, 14.6% of adults are divorced, while an additional 2.5% are separated—compared to 10.8% and 1.8% of all American adults, respectively. Out of all large cities, Tulsa has the 2nd most divorced adults.
Also noted is a decline in the overall number of marriages and delays in when people get married for the first time. In the U.S., there are currently only 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people each year, compared to 10.9 five decades ago. For those who do choose to get married, the age of first marriage is happening later. As late as the early 1970s, the median age for a first marriage in the U.S. was just 22. By 2018, that figure had increased to 28.8.
As women entered the workforce in the mid-20th century and feminism and the sexual revolution took hold, rates of divorce rose quickly throughout the 1960s and 1970s. From 1960 to 1980, the divorce rate per 1,000 people in the U.S. more than doubled from 2.2 to 5.2. But the rate began to fall steadily after 1980, and as of 2018, the rate of divorce had dropped to 2.9 per 1,000 people.
The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. To determine the most divorced locations, researchers at calculated the percentage of adults currently divorced. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher percentage of adults currently separated was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only cities with at least 100,000 residents were included. Additionally, cities were grouped into cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000–349,999), and large (350,000 or more).
Here is a summary of the data for Tulsa, OK:
- Percentage of adults currently divorced: 14.6%
- Percentage of adults currently separated: 2.5%
- Percentage of adults currently married: 42.2%
- Percentage of adults never married: 34.7%
For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:
- Percentage of adults currently divorced: 10.8%
- Percentage of adults currently separated: 1.8%
- Percentage of adults currently married: 48.1%
- Percentage of adults never married: 33.5%
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report here: https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/most-divorced-cities-usa