Why Does Sussex Have Such a High Divorce Rate?

Divorce has been steadily decreasing in the UK for quite some time, but there are still areas of the country where divorce rates are high. 2nd place is Sussex, and here’s why…

A 2020 survey showed that Sussex is one of the areas in the UK with a sky-high divorce rate. In fact, the county has won second place, with a divorce rate a whole third higher than the UK as a whole!

This is great news for divorce solicitors in Sussex, but not for the families that have broken down there.

In this post, we’re going to delve into the reasons why the divorce rate in Sussex is so high, but before we do that, we’re going to quickly go over the figures. Take a look…

Does Sussex Have a High Divorce Rate?

The divorce rate in the UK as a whole is 8.2 percent, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In a list of divorce rates compiled from statistics in the last UK census, three areas in Sussex made it into the top 10 one of which was Hastings, which took second place with 12.83 percent. The other two areas were Eastbourne with 11.47 percent and Worthing with 11.23 percent.

This data not only shows a high divorce rate in Sussex, but also across other seaside towns in the UK. So why are the divorce rates in these areas so high?

Why is the Divorce Rate in Sussex and Other Seaside Areas So High?

To get to the bottom of why Sussex and other coastal regions have such high divorce rates, we have to think of what these areas have that other areas in the UK don’t. Some suggestions may include:

Boredom of coastal living

Lyn Arton, a solicitor who helped carry out the research we cited in the last section, said that “while seaside towns can be a lovely place to live, they are often areas of high deprivation.”

Arton also cited figures from the Office of National Statistics that showed places that once thrived on tourism are suffering unemployment and income issues compared to the rest of the UK.

This kind of deprivation can leave a lot of people out of work and, with businesses failing in the area, there are less places to go out and have fun. Not being able to go out with your spouse and have a good time, or being stuck at home and unemployed, can cause boredom that really damages a marriage.

Extramarital affairs

It’s not a nice thing to think about, but people who are bored with their marriage are more likely to cheat on their partners than those who are having a good time.

According to relationship expert Susan Winter, “Boredom that meets opportunity for adventure and excitement often leads to cheating. Sometimes, cheating is not a conscious directive. It’s happenstance, and all the factors just come to the surface.”

As you can imagine, adultery is one of the main reasons divorce couples cite for why their marriage ended. With boredom being an issue in Sussex, and boredom leading to adultery in some cases, it could be a reason why divorce rates in coastal towns are so high.

Money issues

unhappy couple

As Arton suggested in the analysis of her divorce rate research, the dying tourism industry in Sussex and other coastal areas has led to unemployment and income issues that aren’t present across the rest of the UK.

Unsurprisingly, research has shown that couples with lower incomes are more likely to get into fights over money and cite it as the reason for their divorce. When there’s less money to go around, the stress of paying for bills can cause arguments that build up over time.

If this situation goes on long enough, marriages can break down and divorce rates in areas with lower incomes, like Sussex, can increase.

Long work commutes

A lot of people in Sussex travel to London for work, with five of the top 10 towns that commute to the capital existing in Sussex.

Hastings and Eastbourne both feature prominently on this list and, with a long stressful commute comes a strain on relationships. Getting up in the early hours of the morning and getting home late at night can morph couples from a marital relationship to ships passing in the night.

If you add raising children and other life events to the mix, a couple can go a long time without seeing each other and, over time, this can cause divorce.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse might be another factor in why divorce rates in Sussex are so high.

According to data from Public Health England, in West Sussex, between 2017/18 and 2019/20, five times more children aged 15-24 years were admitted to hospital for substance abuse than the previous time period.

This could be due to there not being much for children to do in these towns and them looking for another way to have a good time, but either way it’s a worrying figure.

There are various studies that show between 10 and 35 percent of people believe their marriage ended because of a spouse’s drinking or drug problems. If these children continue to use drugs once they’re married, it could be a contributing factor to Sussex’s high divorce rate.

Weight gain

man eating burger

It might sound strange, but weight gain is one of the leading causes of divorce, according to separated couples. In some cases, when a spouse experiences significant weight gain, it can take a toll on their self-esteem which can cause intimacy issues.

A lack of physical or emotional intimacy can ruin a marriage because it leaves couples feeling as though they’re friends or roommates living in the same house instead of a loving couple.

With figures showing that almost two thirds of adults in West Sussex are obese or overweight, there’s a chance that weight gain could be a cause of the high divorce rate in this area.

Are These the Most Likely Reasons for the High Divorce Rate in Sussex?

In this post, we’ve shared some insight into why the divorce rate in Sussex, and other coastal towns, is higher than the rest of the UK.

It’s impossible to be certain why the divorce rates are high in Sussex; all we can do is give it our best guess. The loss of tourism and rise in unemployment may play a part, but there seems to be wider issues. These include obesity, substance abuse and commuting time that play a contributory role in the overall divorce rate in these coastal areas.