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Catholics in US less likely to divorce, study shows

October 02, 2013

The divorce rate among American Catholics is significantly lower than among other religious groups, a new study has found.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University reported that national surveys show 28% of married Catholics have divorced. While that figure is “daunting,” CARA notes, it is significantly lower than the rates for Protestants (39%), other faiths (35%), and those with no religious affiliation (40%). The divorce rate is even lower among Catholics married to other Catholics.

The CARA study also showed a pronounced decline in the number of marriages ended by annulment—from 1 for every 4.5 marriage in 1990 to 1 in every 6.5 marriages in 2011. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church in the US still accounts for nearly half (49%) of all the annulments granted by Catholic tribunals worldwide.

In a troubling trend, the CARA study found a sharp decline in the number of marriages celebrated in Catholic churches.


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