According to information from the Office of National Statistics, the number of divorces in England and Wales is decreasing, with a drop of 4.5% in 2020 compared to the previous year. But which are the individual UK counties that account for the lowest rates? We take a look at the specific locations where the divorce rate is at its lowest and consider the differences compared to the areas with typically higher rates.
The impact of the new no-fault divorce laws
Couples in every county in the UK can now access the new no-fault divorce laws introduced in April. The rules mean that no fault needs to be attributed to a divorce, making the process generally more amicable than before. Where there are more complex matters associated with a divorce, you will still need a solicitor to help you achieve the best outcome, but overall, the new regulations could spell a change for counties with typically lower rates.
At the moment, Greater London is the county with the lowest incidence of divorce, namely because of the two boroughs within it, Harrow and Tower Hamlets, which represent the top two places in the UK with the lowest divorce rates.
Standing at around 5.41%, Harrow’s rates for divorce make it one of the more statistically desirable places for married couples to reside. However, simply because people stay married, it does not necessarily mean they are in happy unions. Perhaps also contributing to the marriage success rates is Harrow’s average income which meets the UK average of around £37,000. The area is also noted as one where depression is at its lowest. Both finances and mental health are known to be common factors in divorces.
- Tower Hamlets
Adding to London’s position as the county with the lowest divorce rate is the region of Tower Hamlets. The rate here stands at around 5.65%. The results are perhaps even more impressive considering the fact that the population in the area has doubled over the last 30+ years. Contributing factors could be assigned to the relatively young average age of residents which is between 20 – 39 years old.
With a rate of 5.94%, East Dunbartonshire in Scotland has a relatively low number of divorces compared to the average in England and Wales too. Interestingly, the area was highlighted as one of Britain’s best places to live and work in the most balanced way, as reported in a recent study. It is also recognised as an area with low levels of deprivation, an ageing population and low unemployment.
Counties with the highest divorce rates
Seaside towns have been cited as one of the main geographical hotspots for divorce. This means that with Blackpool, Torbay and Hastings averaging between a 12 – 13% divorce rate, the counties of Lancashire, East Sussex and Devon are on the map for higher divorce rates. Financial matters could be linked to the frequency of divorce as many counties with tourist-driven, seaside attractions experience more negative impacts of employment and health when compared to other areas within the UK.
On a national level, an indicator of high divorce numbers can be credited to the level of economic development in an area, with often wealthier countries possessing higher divorce figures. However, this doesn’t necessarily reflect in the UK counties with more deprived towns, as many of these have higher divorce rates. COVID-19 and the new no-fault divorce laws will also play a part in future divorce statistics and data, in time showing a clearer picture of these effects on a county level.