According to statistics gathered by the US Census Bureau, in 1900 the rate of divorce for males was 84 per 100,000 and 114 per 100,000 for women. The rate grew steadily as the 20th century went on, and during the Great Depression of the 1930s, it was sitting at 489 per 100,000 for men and 572 per 100,000 for women.
After World War II, the divorce rate continued to increase. In 1950, the rate was sitting at 1,070 per 100,000 for men and 1,373 per 100,000 for women. Historical divorce rate statistics continued to rise steadily, and the numbers took a big jump in the 1970s. This may have been due to the fact that the Seventies were the decade when no-fault divorce was first made available.
Before that point, anyone who wanted to end their marriage was going to have to prove allegations of adultery or cruelty. Being able to get a divorce based on the fact that the marriage had broken down or irreconcilable differences may have been a factor in the increase in divorce rates during this decade. By 1980, divorce rates for men had grown to 4,539 per 100,000 for males and 6,577 per 100,000 for females.
According to the most recent statistics gathered by the US Census Bureau (2000), the divorce rate for men was 9,255 per 100,000 and 12,305 per 100,000 for women.