A new study on the divorce rate and the characteristics of where couples live in the United States discovered a surprising finding. The study found the divorce rate is higher in areas with more conservative Protestants. The finding is surprising because many people think more religious couples would be less likely to get divorced. However, the study proves this may not always be the case.

The researchers reviewed a map of the U.S., and reported the concentration of Protestants in a given area can help predict the divorce rate. The study found that areas in the U.S. with higher concentrations of religious Protestants actually had a higher divorce rate compared to less religious areas with fewer Protestants.

The study found Alabama and Arkansas have the second and third highest rate of divorce in the country despite being two of the most religiously conservative states. Alabama and Arkansas reported 13 divorces per 1,000 people every year compared to New Jersey reporting 6 divorces per 1,000 people every year. New Jersey is viewed as a more liberal state with fewer conservative Protestants.

Why would areas with more conservative Protestants have a higher rate of divorce? The researchers said that part of the reason could be due to couples getting married at younger ages in these areas as well as having children at a younger age. In addition, they said conservative Protestant youth in these areas typically have lower incomes and lower educational achievements, which can play a role in the risk of getting divorced.

Individuals and couples thinking about divorce should consider the impact it will have on their lives and what steps they should take to create the best possible future for themselves. There are many issues to consider during divorce, including alimony obligations as well as how your property and assets will be divided according to Texas law. Individuals thinking about filing for divorce should consult a divorce attorney to discuss their specific cases.

Source: The Christian Post, “Divorce Rate Higher in Counties With More Conservative Protestants, Study Says,” Anugrah Kumar, Jan. 26, 2014