Is the divorce rate of Latter-day Saints higher or lower than non-Latter-day Saints?
Lower, at least in the United States. Multiple studies and survey datasets have found that Latter-day Saints tend to have some of the lowest divorce rates compared to both religious and non-religious Americans.
Research studies related to Latter-day Saint marriage and divorce statistics
Year of Study/Analysis
Summary of Relevant Findings
Review of Religious Research, June 1985, Vol 26, No.4
"Religion and Family Formation," Family and Demographic Research Institute, Brigham Young University
Latter-day Saints (Male 14.3%, Female 18.8%) had the lowest percentage of ever married persons who have ever been divorced.
Catholics (Male 19.8%, Female 23.1%), Liberal Protestants (Male 24.4%, Female 30.8%), Conservative Protestants (Male 27.7%, Female 30.9%), None (Male 39.2%, Female 44.7%).
Demography, 1993, Vol. 30, No. 3
"Religion as a Determinant of Marital Stability," Economics Department, University of Illinois at Chicago
Latter-day Saint marriages had the lowest probability (13%) of marriage dissolution.
Catholic (20%), Jewish (27%), Other Religion (13%), No Religion (36%), ecumenical Protestant (20%), and Exclusivist Protestant (19%).
American Religious Identification Survey [ARIS 2008], Summary Report, March 2009
Latter-day Saints had the second-lowest percentage (9%) of divorced/separated in 2008.
U.S. national average of divorced/separated in 2008 was 13%. 'Nones' were at 11%. All other surveyed religions were 10% and above. Those who identified as Jewish had the lowest percentage (8%).
Shield of Faith, Deseret Book, 2010
BYU Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University
Returned-missionary men had a divorce rate of 9%; returned-missionary women had a divorce rate of 15%.
Non-returned-missionary Latter-day Saint men had a divorce rate of 29%, while U.S. men nationally had a rate of 38%. Non-returned-missionary Latter-day Saint women had a rate of 21%, while U.S. women nationally had a rate of 48%.
"From the Mouth of Two or Three Surveys," Times and Seasons, October 23, 2021
28% of Latter-day Saints had been divorced.
42% of nonmembers had been divorced.
"Are Latter-day Saint Marriages More Stable?" Times and Seasons, October 19, 2021
9% of Latter-day Saints identified as divorced.
Catholics (15%), Buddhists (16%), Evangelical Protestants (17%), Historically Black Protestants (30%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (15%), Jews (12%), Mainline Protestants (15%), Muslims (15%), Orthodox Christians (13%), and Unaffiliated (17%).
What about outside of the United States?
There is less information internationally. One study suggested that in some countries, Latter-day Saints may have higher divorce rates than average. In general, various cross-national datasets have suggested that weekly church attenders (not specifically Latter-day Saints) are less likely to have been divorced than those who only attend sometimes or not at all.
Is the average age of marriage of Latter-day Saints higher or lower than non-Latter-day Saints?
Probably lower. Various studies have concluded that Latter-day Saints get married younger than non-Latter-day Saints, at least in the U.S. Surveys suggest that the average age of marriage for U.S. Latter-day Saints is around 22 to 23.
Is it common for Latter-day Saints to marry outside of their faith?
Not really. About 12% of Latter-day Saints are interfaith marriages, according to a 2001 survey. Researchers have found that interfaith marriages for Latter-day Saints rank amongst the lowest in the U.S.
Is there any data about the happiness of Latter-day Saint marriages?
Not a lot. One blog post analyzed U.S. General Social Survey data and found that members of the Church reported higher marital happiness than non-members. Another dataset compared Latter-day Saint marital satisfaction to other faith traditions (including "Nones") and found that Latter-day Saints had comparatively high marital satisfaction.
Other studies found that American weekly church attenders in general (not specifically Latter-day Saints) tended to have higher marital satisfaction.
What percentage of Latter-day Saints get married in the temple versus civil unions?
It depends on the country. For example, in the United States in 1990, 65% of marriages where both spouses were members of the Church were temple marriages, whereas in Mexico it was 20%. Unfortunately, there is no more recent data available.
- Harold R.
“In my younger years I had several built in assumptions: youth in active families would always remain active; divorce wouldn't happen to any married in the temple; etc. After 75 years I've learned that although my assumptions were wrong, the fundamentals for happiness remain.”
- William S.
“I was a divorce attorney in both Salt Lake City and in California. I have done hundreds of divorces for Latter-day Saints. Very few involved Melchizadek priesthood holders. One was a Bishop whose wife was just unhappy with being married. Another man decided he was gay.”