A while back I subscribed to the RSS feed for Statistics Canada. As you might imagine, the agency produces statistics and reports on a wide and occasionally bizarre array of stuff–fertilizer shipments, iron piping and so forth. As you know, these reports are regular fodder for journalists (and, uh, bloggers) hunting for low-hanging trend stories.
Today Statistics Canada released data on divorces across the country in 2005 (the newest year available, presumably). Using their handy data manipulation tool, I generated this chart:
So which province has the highest divorce rate? As you can see, it’s Alberta. I’m ignoring the northern territories, because the sample size is pretty small (Nunavut suffered all of 10 divorces in 2005).
Is Alberta a Red State?
What gives? Why are there 27% more divorces per capita in Alberta than in Saskatchewan? Is this like the US, where so-called conservative red states have a considerably higher incidence of divorce than blue states?
Here’s one thesis: people marry younger in Alberta, and the younger you marry, the likelier you are to get divorced. That’s disproved, though, because Saskatchewan has the lowest marriage age (27 for women, 29.3 for men) in the country as well as a low divorce rate. That’s the red state theory–earlier marriages combined with lower socio-economic standing and less education. Stereotypes aside, I don’t think those factors apply to Alberta.
Here’s another idea that sounds plausible: compared to other provinces, Alberta has a low immigration rate. New Canadians, particularly those from Asia, are less likely to divorce.
Why do you think Alberta has the country’s highest rate of divorce?
Incidentally, while looking through some Statistics Canada research, I found this chart. The rate of divorce is apparently highest for those married about 4.5 years. After that there’s a long decline (to quote Neil Young). Once you hit 40 years of marriage, your odds of divorce are roughly two in 1000.