Sunday's New York Times has this article ("An All-American Town, a Sky-High Divorce Rate," 5/2/04) about all the many people in Roanoke who are divorced.
The article says, among other things: "About one in 10 American adults are divorced or separated. In Roanoke, a city of 94,000 that has taken a disproportionate share of the cultural and economic blows that shatter marriages, the rate is closer to one in five. The national rate of divorce and separation grew 10 percent in the 1990's, according to the 2000 census. It grew about 30 percent in Roanoke. . . . A divorce is harder to get in Virginia than in many other states. But in some ways, Roanoke seems more exposed than most cities to the influences that lead to marital tensions, like poverty and lost jobs and shifting cultural views that make marriage optional. . . . Ranked another way, among cities of comparable size, only Reno, the Las Vegas suburb Paradise and Flint, Mich., ravaged by the loss of well-paid jobs in automobile plants, have higher rates. Two other cities match Roanoke: Gary, Ind., sunk by the disappearance of steel mills, and Miami Beach."