The Impact of Religious Homogeneity on the Rate of Divorce in the United States



This study extends the understanding of the relationship between religious homogeneity, that is, the extent to which formal religious groups are concentrated at the county level, and the rate of persons currently divorced in those counties. Linking the research question to Durkheimian precepts of religion as an integrative force in social life, the essential question is, “At the county level, does the rate of currently divorced vary inversely with more concentrated affiliation with formal religious organizations?” We investigate this relationship using data from the 1990 U.S. Census and from the Glenmary Research Center that encompasses 621 counties in the U.S., that is, a 20 percent random sample of counties from each state. As hypothesized, the divorced rate is inversely related to religious homogeneity, even after controlling for a series of factors that have been shown to be correlated with divorce in other studies.