New data from the U.S. Census has determined that Georgia has one of the eight highest divorce rates in the country. While this data may indicate that Georgia marriages don’t last, the Census also finds that it has one of the highest rates of marriage, as well. Overall, people in the South marry and divorce more often than any other region of the country.

Not only do Georgians marry more often, they also marry younger. The National Center for Health Statistics started collecting states’ marriage and divorce data in 1988, leading to an early study of where states lie on the marriage and divorce spectrum. The Center stopped collecting data soon after, however, and it was not until the most recent census that individual state data was collected again.

Since the early 1980s, men and women have started getting married later. It seems that since 1980 men are 2.3 years older and women are 4.5 years older before they marry for the first time. As of yet, researchers are unsure when the age of first marriage will level off, but some suspect the average age will stop somewhere around 30.

Some sources have put Southern divorce rates at 10.2 and 11.1 percent for men and women, respectively. The national divorce rates, however, are 10 and 9.2 percent and in the Northeast, they are 7.2 and 7.5 percent.

It is unclear whether this data actually provides an insight into marriage in Georgia and in the South. It is possible that first marriages between younger adults may fail, but that second marriages between older and more mature adults are less likely to end in divorce than other regions of the country.

Source: USA Today, “Marriage, divorce rates higher in the South, lower in Northeast,” Sharon Jayson, Aug. 24, 2011