The divorce rate in Canada has steadily increased for many years. In 2022, there were 2.78 million who got legally divorced.

Two decades ago, the divorce rate was close to 2 million in Canada. These divorce statistics are important to understand in order to understand the family dynamics in the country.

Let’s understand these divorce statistics in Canada in detail to shed some light on these trends.

What is the Divorce Rate in Canada?

Statistic: Number of divorced people in Canada from 2000 to 2022 (in millions) | Statista
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According to Statista, the divorce rate in Canada in 2022 was 2.78 million. This was an increase from 2021, as the divorce rate during that year was 2.74 million.

The rise over the years in divorce rates has been slow but steady as in 2000, there were 1.8 million divorced people on the country.

Please note that the number of married people is also increasing over the years, even though it is slow. Now that you know the most recent divorce rate, let’s look at this trend since the past five decades.

Divorce Rate in Canada by Age

A graph on the divorce rate in Canada by age

Image Source: Statistics Canada

From 2016 to 2020, Statistics Canada compiled the divorce rates in Canada based on age group. What this means is that the divorce rate is the number of people divorced in the year divided by the marriage population of July 1 in the same year.

When you look at the divorce rate in Canada by age, you can look at two trends. The first one is that there has been a decrease in divorces of couples under fifty.

The second is that there has been an increase in grey divorce. You can also note that the divorce rates have been consistently high for the age group between 40 and 44.

On the other hand, lower age groups of 20 and 24, and higher age groups of 50 and older have a low divorce rate in Canada.

Another trend to note is that people are getting married at a later age. You can witness this in the fact that the divorce rates of the age group between 50 and 64 is declining much slower than younger groups.

So, people of the 50 and older age group are divorcing more when you compare them to younger couples. Late marriage and common-law relationships are two reasons for this trend.

Divorce Rate in Canada by Province

Another important way to understand the divorce rate in Canada is to look at the divorce rate in Canada based on province. Take a look at the table below to understand the divorce rate based on each province.

It is based on the number of divorced people per 1000 married people:

Between 1991 and 1995 Between 2016 and 2020
Canada 12.8 7.7
Ontario 12.2 7.2
Quebec 14.3 8.0
Newfoundland and Labrador 7.9 6.2
Nova Scotia 11.3 7.3
Prince Edward Island 8.8 6.6
Manitoba 11.4 7.1
New Brunswick 9.4 7.4
British Columbia 14.2 7.5
Alberta 14.1 9.7
Yukon 17.7 12.8
Nunavut 11.0 2.4
Northwest Territories 11.0 7.5
Saskatchewan 10.6 7.7

When you take a look at the divorce rate by province in Canada, you can see that they have decreased from 1991 to 2020.

These divorce statistics have been taken from Statistics Canada to provide you with a comprehensive overlook at the divorce rate of each province.

Divorce Rate in Canada by Year

The divorce rate in Canada by year is from 2000 to 2020.

Statista has taken these divorce rates by year. The number of divorced people is in millions, and it showcases the trend between 2000 and 2022, giving you a comprehensive overview of the trends for the past two decades.

The number of divorced people in 2000 was 1.88 million, and in 2022, it was 2.78 million, based on this data. So, Canada has seen a steady increase in divorce rates in the last two decades.

Divorce Rate in Canada by Gender

A graph on the divorce rate in Canada by gender

In the 1968 Divorce Act, the grounds for divorce were available to both husbands and wives. This removed the double standards that were in existence because of the Matrimonial Causes Act.

For provinces that were still following this English Law, the husband could sue the wife for divorce based on adultery. However, wives would have to combine adultery and other grounds to sue the husband for divorce.

In 2017, you can notice in the divorce statistics in Canada that women had a higher divorce rate than men. Women had a divorce rate of 8.6 per 1,000 married people, while the men had 8.4.

You can also take these statistics further and look at the age trend within the different genders. For example, the divorce rate in Canada for people under 20 is 3 for women and 4.1 for men.

On the other hand, the average divorce rate in Canada for the age group between 20 and 34 is 13.27 for women and 11.4 for men.

For people over 50, the rate for men is higher than that for women. When you look at the overall divorce rate in Canada by gender, you can note that more women get divorce applications when they are at a younger age.

Later on in life, the trend is for men to get a divorce application. Please note that these divorce rates don’t include couples in common-law relationships or separated couples.

The conclusion of this trend is that divorce is more common among older married women than men.

Key Takeaways from the Statistics of Divorce Rate in Canada

A diagram of the key statistics of divorce rates in Canada

Looking at so much data can be overwhelming, and data is nothing without extracting the right insights. We have already created useful insights for you from the data of divorce rate in Canada.

Here are the top key takeaways from the statistics:

Takeaway 1: Divorces are Occurring at Increasingly Older Ages

The first takeaway is that divorces are taking place at older ages. The average age of marriage used to be 23.7 years in 1980.

However, it has increased to 30.7 years by 2020. What this lets us know is that people are also getting divorced at a higher age.

Another key point to note from this is that women get married at a younger age than men. Because of this, they also divorce at a younger age.

However, overall data suggests that older people are getting more divorced now.

Takeaway 2: A Halt in the Growth of Grey Divorces

Grey divorces occur among couples aged 50 and older. These divorces are uncommon, and their growth in these numbers has halted for a while.

While the divorce rate in this age group rose till 2006, it has seen much more stability since then. Recently, the trend has been downwards, as post 50, people tend to get divorced less.

Takeaway 3: All Provinces Experienced Fewer Divorces in 2020

Between 2019 and 2020, all provinces witnessed a decrease in divorces. Ontario witnessed the largest decrease, at a rate of 36%.

On the other hand, other provinces witnessed a decrease between 11% and 22%. In light of territories, the divorce numbers remained stable.

Takeaway 4: The Decrease in the Provincial Divorce Rate in 2020 is linked to the Pandemic

2020 was a difficult year for everyone, and everyone was under a lockdown. This meant there were a lot of obstacles when going for administrative work or processing requests.

The lockdown slowed down the court proceedings, which meant that divorce cases were not given priority. Some courts were closed too, which meant that people had no way to get divorced in some places.

Of course, this is not the only factor, as the pandemic also disrupted the social life of everyone. Couples spent more time together, and people needed company in this time of isolation.

Takeaway 5: Joint Application Divorces are now Common

The Divorce Act of 1986 made it possible for married couples to file for the divorce together. Because of this, the percentage of couples filing together has grown from 4% in 187 to 31% in 2020.

What this tells us is that couples are more willing to mutually agree on the terms of the divorce before coming to the courts. It allows both parties to opt for the divorce on their own terms.

Takeaway 6: The Divorce Rate in Canada is Only Part of the Story

It is important to note that the divorce rate in Canada is only part of the picture regarding divorce. There are many other reasons why divorce rates witness these changes, as a multitude of factors affect these rates.

On the other hand, separated couples or ones in domestic partnership don’t come under this category. So, we only know the part of the story.

However, you can deduce the general trends and context from the pattern and data available.

What is the Leading Cause of Divorce in Canada?

The leading cause of divorce in Canada is monetary issues. Other than that, couples also divorce one another because of cruelty, adultery, or domestic violence.

Most people think that the conflict over money or property can be the leading cause of divorce. Infidelity is the second leading cause of divorce in the country.

Next is domestic violence within the relationship. If you are going through any of these issues, be sure to connect with the top family lawyer in Ontario to get legal help as soon as possible.


What country has the highest divorce rate?

The Maldives has the highest yearly divorce rate with 5.52 divorces per 1000 people. This is more than double the global average of 1.65.

What is the most common age for divorce in Canada?

According to Statistics Canada, the average age of divorce in 48 years in the country. The reason for this is that people are getting married at later ages.

Who initiates divorce more in Canada?

Reports and studies have found that women initiate divorce more often than men. You can also see this in the divorce rate statistics, as women have a higher divorce rate than men.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know about the divorce rate in Canada and divorce statistics, you can understand the process much better. However, if you want more information regarding separation or divorce, you can get in touch with our family lawyer.

We will be more than happy to resolve any queries you may have and provide you assistance during such proceedings.

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Athena Narsingh
Athena Narsingh
Athena Narsingh is a trusted and knowledgeable lawyer in Scarborough. Her expertise spans real estate law, family law, adoptions and fertility law. A lawyer by profession and a humanitarian by heart, Athena Narsingh wants to help people become more familiar with the legal system and be well-informed to make important legal decisions.