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The Impact of COVID-19 on Marriage and Divorce Rates

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Kathryn Grendell

Additional Presenters:
Kimalie Nye (; Samantha Bailey (; Olivia Black (; Seth Driggs (
Over the last several years, many high income and upper-middle-income countries have shown consistent downward trends in marriage rates while divorce have begun to stabilize. The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 had the potential to significantly impact these rates, as many countries experienced shutdowns that made it difficult to proceed with marriage ceremonies and solidify divorces. Because of this, we predicted that marriage rates and divorce rates would decrease as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, then experience a rebound effect once pandemic restrictions lifted. Using data from the Global Families Research Initiative at Brigham Young University, collated from different data sources such as the United Nations, individual country’s department of statistics, and through correspondence with international statistics bureaus, our data suggests that marriage rates declined between the years 2018 to 2020, with marriage rates significantly decreasing between 2019 and 2020. Additionally, there was a significant increase in marriages between 2020 and 2021. Likewise, divorce rates experienced a significant decrease between 2019 and 2020 but did not experience a significant change between 2020 and 2021. These findings suggest that while COVID-19 impacted couples’ ability to marry and divorce, couples were able to proceed with marriages once restrictions lifted. Divorces continued to remain low, though, perhaps due to couples working through marital problems during the pandemic or the time that it takes for divorces to be finalized. Data regarding 2022 and 2023 will be helpful to our understanding of the pandemic’s lasting effects on divorce rates.
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Spencer James
Location: Union Building, COLLEGIATE ROOM (10:45am)