Unmasking Portugal’s 94% Divorce Rate Myth

Unmasking Portugal's Divorce Rate Myth

Social media recently buzzed with an eye-catching statement. World Statistics Count claimed Portugal has a 94% divorce rate. This figure prompts us to dig deeper. How accurate is this claim, and what’s the calculation behind it?

Understanding Divorce Rates

Let’s demystify ‘divorce rate.’ Usually, we calculate it as the number of divorces per 1,000 people each year. Sometimes, it’s the percentage of marriages that end in divorce.

But, World Statistics Count took a different route. They divided the number of divorces in one year by the number of marriages in the same year. It’s misleading. Divorces in a year don’t necessarily come from marriages in that same year.

Pandemic’s Impact

We also must consider the pandemic’s effect on 2020 to 2021 data. It led to a drop in the number of marriages. This decline inflates the rate using World Statistics Count’s formula. Fewer marriages in a year equals a higher rate.

Historical Trends in Divorce Rates

A BBC study gives valuable insights. It states North American divorce rates now match 1970s levels. Divorce laws relaxed in the 1980s and 1990s, causing a surge. Portugal likely mirrors these historical trends. It’s improbable for the divorce rate to exceed 90%.

People now marry later, leading to fewer marriages each year. This again inflates the divorce rate using World Statistics Count’s method.


Worldwide, divorce rates may rise or fluctuate due to societal changes and global events. But, Portugal’s divorce rate claim of 94% seems unlikely and is based on a flawed method. For accurate divorce rates, rely on reliable sources like Portugal’s national statistical agency, Eurostat, or United Nations’ demographic reports.

This instance highlights the need for data literacy. We must question any statistic before taking it as truth. It’s the key to debunk Portugal’s divorce rate claim and other misleading statistics.