A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau has revealed that couples living in the southern part of the country experience the highest divorce rates, while those residing in the northeastern U.S. have the lowest.

The South, which includes Maryland and 15 other states for the purposes of the report, sees 11.1 divorces for every 1000 women and 10.2 for every 1000 men. This beats the national average of 9.7 for women and 9.2 for men. A family demographer with the Census Bureau explained that southern state’s increased divorce rates are likely connected to their higher marriage rates. In the Northeast, which has divorce rates of 7.5 per 1000 women and 7.2 per 1000 men, couples tend to delay marriage for longer, slowing the marriage rate.

A professor of sociology commented on the findings, suggesting that the tendency for southern young adults to marry early and with less education might factor into the higher divorce rates recorded for the region. He also noted that many included areas are home to a large amount of migrant workers. When such individuals encounter marital problems, they lack the support structure of their friends and families at home. Without that network, divorce becomes more likely because people have fewer sources of advice and counsel.

The data used for the report was collected in 2009, the most recent year for which complete statistics were available, by the American Community Survey. The researchers behind the report sampled 3 million households for the data. It is the first report to provide such precise information on marriages and divorce since 1996, when the National Center for Health Statistics began recording such information.

Source: Huffington Post, “Highest Divorce Rates by State: New Data ‘Marital Events of Americans: 2009’ Report,” Ashley Reich, Aug. 25, 2011.