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Recovering from a divorce? Here are the 10 best places to live

Getty Images | Lingxiao Xie

More than 90% of people in Western cultures marry by 50, but around 40% to 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce. That leads us to ask: Where do broken hearts go? Or rather, where should they go?

LendingTree, an online lending marketplace, narrowed down the best places for those recovering from divorce. Using 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the company ranked 50 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas based on the following three categories:

  1. Economic outcomes: LendingTree compared each location's median income for divorced people (ages 35 to 64) to the median income of all "single-earner families." It also looked at the percentage of divorced people who own their homes and their median home ownership costs, as well as the median rents for those who are renting.
  2. Dating pool prospects: This reflects the percentage of people in each city who are widowed, divorced, separated or have never been married, as well as how the number of single men compares to the number of single women within each age group.
  3. Remarriage risk factors: This category covers the percentage of divorced people who have been married at least three times, the percentage of people within each age group who are currently divorced and the proportion of split marriages that are in separation rather than completed divorce.

Cities earned scores out of 100 for each category, which were then averaged together to compile the final ranking.

Here are the top 10 U.S. cities to bounce back from a marital break up, according to LendingTree:

Of the top cities, five out of 10 are located in the Midwest, with Minneapolis, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Detroit, Michigan, taking first, second and third place, respectively. Each ranked high in all three categories with a final score of at least 69 points.

Minneapolis earned the highest score for economic outcomes and ranked fourth highest for remarriage risks. But less tangible factors may also be at play: The city is known for its friendliness, which has been dubbed "Minnesota nice."

Milwaukee's high ranking is partially due to its low median rent price of $841, which is well below the 2019 national median of $1,058, according to U.S. Census data. Detroit earned the second highest economic score, which is likely a result of the city's relatively high percentage of divorced people who own homes as well as its low homeownership costs, LendingTree says. 

LendingTree also determined which places are the worst for post-divorce recovery. Out of the 50 metros ranked, here are the 10 cities that scored the lowest:

Due to its poor economic outcomes and dating pool prospects, New York City came in last place, making it the worst place to try and recoup from a divorce. One reason is because "the ratio of single women to single men is pretty off-kilter," Kali McFadden, a senior research analyst at LendingTree, tells CNBC Make It.

However, "the real kicker for New York City is the high cost of living, especially relative to the lower incomes that divorced people see," McFadden says.

Interestingly, though, almost all of the other places that ranked low on the list can be found in the South, including Memphis, Tennessee; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; and Dallas, Texas.

Is moving the right decision after a divorce?

While you shouldn't make the decision to move on a whim, it may be worth it to asses whether the place where you live is causing you to feel more stressed financially, overly limited when it comes to your dating options (if you're interested in dating again) or at risk of jumping into an unstable relationship.

All of these factors can make the already difficult process of transitioning out of a marriage even harder. But after going through a divorce, it's important to take care of yourself, the American Psychological Association says, which may include reflecting upon the current state of your environment. Considering a new location — and how it relates to your well-being and happiness — can sometimes make sense. 

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