The divorce rate in the U.S. has been on the decline in recent decades from its peak of 22.6 per 1,000 in 1980. In 2019, the overall rate reached a 40-year low of 15.5, down from 15.7 in 2018. But for women aged 50 and older, there has been an uptick in divorces since 1990, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage at Bowling Green State University.

The center found that divorce among women aged 50 and older, known as “gray divorce,” doubled from 4.9 per 1,000 to 10.7 per 1,000 between 1990 and 2008. Those divorces, however, have slowed slightly since 2008 to 10.3 in 2017. The research found that in 2017, 344,755 women aged 50 and older split.

In its analysis of the national trend in gray divorce rates, the center used data from the 1990 U.S. Vital Statistics Report and one-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) for 2008 to 2017 (the most recently available data). It also used the 2013-2017 five-year estimates from the ACS to examine state-level variation.

In subsequent research, the center found that in 2018, while there were more divorces than marriages for those aged 45 to 54, 55 to 64, and 65 and over, the 65-plus women and those aged 15 to 24 were the only two groups that had a higher divorce rate than marriage rate.

The research included a ranking by states of gray divorces in 2017, which it separated into four groups. 

South Dakota had the lowest gray divorce rate at 5:1, and North Carolina and Virginia, which ranked 23 and 24, respectively, most closely matched the overall gray divorce rate in the U.S. (10.1), the data showed.

Here, in descending order, are the states with the highest gray divorce rates in 2017. 

12. Georgia