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Florida Cities Dominate List of Those With the Highest Divorce Rate

A recently released survey compiled by reporters at the news site The Daily Beast reveals that Florida has the dubious distinction of having 11 of the 50 cities in America with the highest divorce rates. Panama City, Florida, has the highest per capita divorce rate in the nation, with nearly 16 percent of the population being divorced.

How Was the List Compiled?

The Daily Beast approached the task of determining the nation's divorce "hot spots" by examining both population demographic data (to figure out what percent of the population was currently divorced) and public records (to see how many divorces occurred in the year 2009). Those comparisons led to the conclusion that Panama City leads the nation in divorce filings per capita, surprisingly ranking higher than other cities like Jacksonville, Orlando and Phoenix. Also interesting was that major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta did not even make the list.

Why do so Many Floridians' Marriages End in Divorce?

Florida marital counselor Dr. Joel Prather has several theories as to why Panama City is home to so many divorcees. These include:

  • Couples coming to the area for job opportunities that are then lost, causing financial strain
  • Disproportionate amount of military personnel in the area, leading to divorces when troops are deployed or when front-line troop members come home injured
  • High joblessness rate among long-time residents due to company layoffs and other economic issues
  • Easy access to bars, nightclubs, alcohol, creating a "party" atmosphere that can disrupt quality time spent nurturing a relationship
  • Temptations found in that "party" atmosphere that may lead to infidelity

Another factor leading to the high divorce rate in Florida is the flexibility and simplicity of the state's divorce-related laws. It is relatively easy to obtain a divorce in Florida, much easier than in several other states. If you are thinking of seeking a divorce or learning more about any legal options available to you, seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney in your area.

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