Latest figures show that there were 117,558 divorces in England and Wales in 2011 - down by 1.7% since 2010, the Office for National Statistics said.
Based on marriage, divorce and death statistics for 2010, about 42% of marriages are expected to end in divorce - a drop from 45% in 2005.
The number of divorces in 2011 was highest among people aged 40 to 44.
In 2011, 10.8 people divorced per thousand married people, compared with 12.9 in 2001.
The findings showed that there continues to a "general decline" in divorces since 2003 when there were 153,065.
The fall in the actual number of divorces is consistent with a decline in the number of marriages to 2009 - a factor which may be due to the increasing number of couples choosing to co-habit rather than marry, the ONS said.
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