US leads world on annulments

The number of annulments granted annually in the United States soared from 338 in 1968, to 28,918 in 1974, to a peak of 63,933 in 1991. By 2004 the number had fallen to 46,330, and it fell even further, to 35,009, in 2007—a remarkable decline of 24 percent in three years.

Despite this decline, the United States, with 5.9 percent of the world’s Catholics, still accounts for 60 percent of the Church’s 58,322 declarations of nullity (2007 statistics in the Vatican Secretariat of State’s Statistical Yearbook of the Church). Of the 35,009 declarations of nullity granted in the US, 79 percent were granted through the ordinary process, while 21 percent were granted through the documentary process.


The United States leads the world in declarations of nullity (with 35,009 in 2007) by a very large margin; the country with the next highest annulment rate—Italy—had only 2,625 that same year. Brazil, Poland, Canada, Mexico, Spain, India, South Korea, Germany, Australia, Colombia, France, Ukraine, and Great Britain round out the world’s top 15 nations for annulments. These 15 countries account for 91 percent of declarations of nullity. On the other hand, Africa, which has 14 percent of the world’s Catholics, accounts for a mere 0.9 percent of the Church’s declarations of nullity.

– Jeff Ziegler


Annulment nation (Catholic World Report)