5 Alaska Cities Has the Highest Divorce Rates As Compared to Others

Alaska is famous for its stunning natural landscapes, diverse wildlife, and resilient community, but it is also known for having a high divorce rate. In 2018, Alaska had the fourth-highest divorce rate in the United States, with 12.5 divorces per 1,000 married individuals. One may wonder about the factors leading to the high divorce rates in Alaska and which cities in the state have the highest rates. This article explores the possible reasons behind Alaska’s high divorce rate and highlights the top five cities with the highest divorce rates in the country.

Reasons Behind Alaska’s High Divorce Rate

Alaska’s high divorce rate has been attributed to various factors, although no single answer definitively explains it. Some researchers and experts suggest several possible reasons:

  • Alaska’s long and dark winters can affect the mood and mental well-being of some people. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to occur during certain seasons, often in the winter months. It can result in symptoms such as low energy, feelings of sadness, irritability, and a lack of interest in activities. This issue may impact the quality of relationships, increasing the likelihood of marital conflicts and dissatisfaction.
  • Alaska has a significant military community, including approximately 23,000 active-duty members and 4,700 reservists. Being in the military can put a lot of pressure on marriages, especially if one spouse is often deployed or relocated. Factors like long-distance communication, emotional stress, financial difficulties, and adjustment issues play a role in the increased divorce rate in military marriages, according to a study by the RAND Corporation.
  • Alaska’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas production, making it vulnerable to global market changes and environmental laws. The state faces challenges with a high cost of living, exceeding national averages for food, housing, and utilities. Financial instability can lead to stress and uncertainty for couples, which can contribute to marital issues and divorce.
  • Alaska is a diverse state, home to people from different ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Alaska has the highest percentage of Native Americans in the country at 15.6%, as well as a significant immigrant and refugee population. This cultural diversity enriches the state’s social fabric but also presents challenges for intercultural marriages. Various factors such as language barriers, cultural differences, family expectations, and discrimination can lead to increased divorce rates.

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Here are the top 5 Alaska cities with the highest divorce rates based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey:

  • Kodiak: 18.6%
  • Fairbanks: 16.6%
  • Kenai: 16.4%
  • Wasilla: 15.9%
  • Anchorage: 15.1%

These cities have similar traits that may clarify their high divorce rates:

  • Significant Military Presence: Kodiak, Fairbanks, Kenai, and Anchorage are home to major military bases, which can lead to higher divorce rates, as previously discussed.
  • Living expenses are high in these cities in Alaska, especially in Kodiak. Rising expenses can cause financial stress and unhappiness, especially for couples with children.
  • Low Population Density: These cities, which are quite isolated and have few people, have limited access to social support and resources such as counseling, therapy, education, and entertainment. Having fewer people around can make you feel more isolated, especially in the colder months.

In conclusion

Alaska is facing an increased divorce rate due to various factors including seasonal affective disorder, military presence, economic instability, and cultural diversity. Alaska’s cities with the highest divorce rates, such as Kodiak, Fairbanks, Kenai, Wasilla, and Anchorage, share common traits that lead to their increased divorce rates. However, divorce is not unavoidable, and couples can overcome challenges by seeking professional help.

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