New data shows that U.S. divorce rates are higher in Southern states such as Alabama, Kentucky, and Texas. This information is important to church leaders since these states are located in what is traditionally known as the "Bible Belt." However, these same leaders squabble over whether or not Christians are truly part of America's growing divorce problem.
Data from the U.S. Census shows the divorce rate among both men and women in the South hovers over the national average. In the South, the divorce rate is 10.2 divorces per 1,000 men aged 15 or older and 11.1 divorces per 1,000 women.
The national divorce rate rests at 9.2 divorces per 1,000 men and 9.7 divorces per 1,000 women. The Northeast region boasts the lowest divorce rate at 7.2 divorces per 1,000 men and 7.5 per women. But the region also has the lowest number of marriage
, and Oklahoma - states traditionally known for their conservatism - are experiencing divorce rates between 11 and 13.5 divorces per 1,000 for both men and women.
Arizona has the highest rate of divorce in the nation among women, 16.2 divorces per 1,000 women. Arkansas holds the highest divorce rate in the nation among men, 13.5 per 1,000.
Dwayne Hastings, vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethic and Religious Liberty Commission, said of the data, "Couples are entering into the marriage relationship without an idea, a real solid idea of what they are getting into," he described.