Divorce, which can be a seismic life shift, often leads to a separation of finances and one party moving to a new home. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 26% of women and 23% of men moved into a new home the same year they got divorced.
Some even moved out of state, perhaps for new career opportunities or proximity to support systems. MagnifyMoney researchers used the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to analyze the number of men and women who were divorced in the 12 months prior to the survey and who moved in that same period. The figures vary quite a bit by state, so here’s what we learned.
|Percentage of divorced people who …|
|Moved to a new home in the same 12-month period as getting divorced||23%||26%|
|Moved to a new home in the previous 12-month period||9%||11%|
|Have minor children at home||23%||37%|
|Moved from another state in the same 12-month period as getting divorced||4%||4%|
An estimated 2,581 newly divorced men moved to Florida in the same 12-month period as getting divorced — the largest number in the U.S., according to our estimates. For analysis, we looked at the states where men were headed — as well as where they were leaving.
Full graphic: Newly divorced men move to these states
Three of the five most popular destinations for divorced men were also popular states to leave within a year of divorce:
The three states had more who were recently divorced leave than come during the time frame we examined, even amid substantial population increases over the past decade.
Florida, California and Texas each have poverty rates above the national average, which could contribute to a desire to leave for a more affordable living situation — or perhaps to find more lucrative jobs to be able to put more money back into savings.
Virginia had the highest proportion among the top five of divorced men moving to the state (compared to those who already lived there) at 8%. North Carolina was second, with 6% opting for that kind of fresh start.
Of course, the reasons someone who is divorced might — or might not — move to a new state can vary, including:
And moving, much like divorce, can have a big impact on your finances, as the process will lead to some division of marital assets and debts.
“One spouse may lose more savings than he or she had expected,” said Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts. “Those savings may be important as you deal with new expenses such as rent or child support. Moving into a new house or apartment is one of many things that can strain your budget after a divorce.”
According to our findings, an estimated 4,828 newly divorced women moved to Texas in the same 12-month period as getting divorced — topping our list. Similar to men, we looked at the states where women were headed, as well as where they were leaving.
Full graphic: Newly divorced women moved to these states
Similar to men, Texas, Florida and California each land in the top five states for divorced women to move to, while also having a large number of divorced women leaving those states. Though in this case, only California has a higher number of divorced women leaving the state than moving there.
Among the top three states for women — Texas, Florida and Georgia — 5% of newly divorced women moved to the state, while the rest were already residents at the time of their divorce.
Virginia had the highest proportion among the top five of newly divorced women moving to the state at 6%, while California had the lowest at 2%. Both Virginia and California have median household incomes at least $10,000 above the national average, which could make it easier to save money amid your divorce.
Interestingly, it seems that Texas and Florida have a similar appeal for divorced women, as the most common state of origin for those relocating from either state is the other. And like Texas, those relocating to Georgia are also most likely to be coming from the Sunshine State.
To get a more realistic understanding of people leaving each state, we looked at both the raw numbers and percentages. Numbers were limited in smaller states, obviously.
Among our findings: 37% of the newly divorced men in Alaska moved to the state within the 12-month period of their divorce. The state has a lot of movement, though, as 43% of men living in the state when they were divorced left for another state within the year.
Alaska’s popularity among divorced men is perhaps surprising, given the fact that the state overall has only seen a 3% population increase between 2010 and 2019. Though, if we’re focusing on fresh starts, one could say it doesn’t get any fresher than moving to Alaska, but those who are recently divorced should be patient and make sure to avoid buyer’s remorse.
By contrast, the District of Columbia’s population has increased by 17% during the same time frame — yet an even higher proportion of divorced men left than those who moved there during their divorce year.
Clearly, some divorced men are finding merit in moving to these two locations — even as more of those who already lived there are leaving it behind. However, D.C. offers a potential earnings bump, as the median household income is $86,420 — more than $20,000 above the national average.
A significant 14% of the newly divorced women in the Cowboy State moved there within the 12-month period of their divorce.
The high percentage of divorced women moving to Wyoming is significant given the fact that the state itself has only seen a 3% population increase over the past decade (compared with Idaho, second on our list, which has seen a 14% population increase).
Meanwhile, Idaho has a median household income below the national average, while Wyoming is slightly higher.
According to rankings website HomeSnacks, singles in Wyoming should consider Laramie and Cheyenne, while singles in Idaho should consider Rexburg and Moscow.
Analysts used microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey (1-year) to estimate the number of men and women who reported that:
We also estimated the number of men and women who reported that they’d moved to another state or another country in the 12-month period preceding the survey. State migration data was aggregated at the state level, either at the state of origin or of the current residence.