Letters to the Editor

Snohomish County divorce rates 64 percent higher than national average

A recently published article stating the U.S. divorce rate is at the lowest rate since 1970 doesnt accurately portray divorce statistics in Snohomish County. Regardless of what factors one uses to determine the rise or fall of divorce rates, local divorce statistics from the County Clerk and Auditors Office show the incident of divorce to be much higher in Snohomish County than the national average.
The Associated Press article stated the national divorce rate peaked at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people in 1981 and dropped to 3.6 per 1,000 people in 2000. In comparison, the Snohomish County divorce rate was 5.3 per thousand people in 2000 and remains nearly constant for 2006 population levels at 5.1 per thousand. This indicates a 2006 divorce rate nearly 64 percent higher than the national average.
The article briefly discussed a second method of calculating divorce rates by comparing the number of marriage licenses issued to the number of divorce cases filed. When using this comparison method, the national average is approximately 50 percent, or often stated as one of every two marriages end in divorce.
Snohomish County far exceeds this rate. In 2006, 3,956 marriage licenses were issued while 3,418 divorces were filed. This is a ratio 86 of every 100 marriages ending in divorce. This ratio has been above 80 percent for the past eight years with a high of 89 per 100 (2005) and a low of 82 per 100 (2000).
It should be recognized that divorce is not about numbers or statistics, its about human emotions and relationships. From my firsthand experience of having worked in a Clerks Office for more than 20 years, I have seen the short and long-term impacts divorce has on individuals and families. It is not a matter to be approached lightly.
Ron Ledford

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