Which Province Has the Highest Divorce Rate?

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:

Canadian divorce rates, 2005

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).

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 disproven, 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.


  1. The easy guess is that the oil boom has changed the life states of a lot of Albertans rather suddenly, either moving them around, or giving them a lot of money, or doing the same for their spouses.

    And in Alberta, people probably still get married, as opposed to Quebec, where it’s relatively common to not bother at all. If you’re not married to the woman you’ve had 2 kids with, then when you break up there’s no divorce.

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