Of the nation's 275 metropolitan areas, the most recent Census Bureau figures show the least incidence of divorce in these 10 city areas. (Rates are based on the number of divorces per 1,000 population, and may include annulments and legal separations.)

Laredo, Tex. (.1); McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Tex. (.4); Lafayette, La. (.6); Altoona, Pa. (.8); Reading, Pa. (2.3); St. Cloud, Minn. (2.3); Johnstown, Pa. (2.6); Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (2.8); Dubuque, Iowa (2.8); Cumberland, Md. (2.9). (A Census Bureau official warns that an extremely low ranking -- below 1.0 -- can result from reporting quirks.)

The 10 metropolitan areas with the highest incidence of divorce (excluding Nevada):

Lawton, Okla. (11.2); Casper, Wyo. (10.9); Killeen-Temple, Tex. (10.3); Panama City, Fla. (10.2); Odessa, Tex. (10.1); Kokomo, Ind. (10.0); Anchorage, Alaska (9.9); Anderson, Ind. (9.5); Tulsa, Okla. (9.4); Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (9.1).


According to the latest provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the 10 lowest divorce rate states are:

Massachusetts (2.9); North Dakota (3.3); Pennsylvania (3.4); New York (3.4); South Dakota (3.5); Minnesota (3.5); Wisconsin (3.5); Iowa (3.6); Connecticut (3.6); Maryland (3.6).

The 10 highest divorce rates, except for Nevada:

Alaska (7.8); Oklahoma (7.3); Wyoming (7.2); Florida (6.9); Arkansas (6.6); Arizona (6.5); New Mexico (6.5); Tennessee (6.5); Alabama (6.4); Washington (6.3).

Comparable recent data for Indiana, California and Louisiana has not yet been processed by the National Center for Health Statistics. The most recent figures available for those states suggest Louisiana might have some of the nation's lowest rates, Indiana some of its highest, and California close to the national average of 4.9.

National Center for Health Statistics figures are "by state of occurrence rather than by state of residence and should be interpreted accordingly."

Nevada (13.7) and its Reno (17.6) and Las Vegas (15.5) metropolitan areas, far and away the nation's highest divorce rate locales, were omitted in rankings because they attract temporary residents who come to Nevada solely for the purpose of obtaining "quickie" divorces.

(The most recent available Census Bureau divorce rate data -- to be published in its forthcoming State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, 1986 -- are for 1982. The by-state figures cited above were provided by the National Center for Health Statistics, and are for 1984.)