The Sultanate of Oman has the lowest divorce rate when compared to other countries in the Gulf region,  according to a study being conducted by the Omani Studies Center at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). Dr Auhoud bint Said Al Bulushi, head of Research and Studies at the Omani Studies Center at SQU said, "Divorce is a complicated social issue as it impacts not only the individuals involved but affects the society as a whole."
As per the 2010 census, the divorce rate in Oman was 1.99 per cent - slightly lower than 2.2 per cent as shown in the 2003 census. However, according to Dr Auhoud, there is lack of statistical data and information on divorce rate in Oman apart from minor studies concentrating on specific issues in divorce.
Meanwhile, the other Gulf nations have witnessed a steady increase in divorce among their nationals. Kuwait shows the highest percent of divorce at 37.13 per cent (2007), followed by Qatar at 34.76 per cent. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain show 25.62 per cent  and 24.05 per cent respectively, while the divorce rate in Saudi Arabia is at 20 per cent. "To some, divorce is a solution while in other cases, it's the beginning of a series of problems and complications," says Dr Auhoud. "It is clear that the Omani society has been through rapid transformation in the past decades, which has affected the Omani family and social roles played by its members. These changes could have a negative impact on the stability of the Omani families," she adds.
The current study is considered the first of its kind in the Sultanate as it takes account of statistics from the whole country. This study is being conducted by a team led by Dr Auhoud. The group included professors from the Department of Sociology at the College of Arts and Social Sciences and from the Department of Psychology at the College of Education as well as professors from the Statistics department at the College of Science.
The study will investigate the causes of divorce in the Omani society, the impact of divorce on the parties involved, and the ways to overcome the issues that lead to divorce. The research team is collaborating with the Ministry of Social Development in collecting data from different wilayats in Oman. The study examines all 11 governorates in the Sultanate. One Wilayat from each governorate was selected randomly for study. Data collected from divorcees - 600 entries of both genders - was also selected at random.
The study utilises both the quantitative and qualitative research approaches to collect and analyse data. The data collection teams have also collected statistics on the divorcees in each of the Wilayats involved in the study in order to select the sample. Field study and data collection would commence next month and the study would be completed by the end of 2013. and its results could prove helpful to decision makers as well as social researchers and the public.
What do you think? Does this finding come as any surprise or are conservative divorce rates in the Sultanate to be expected in a still conservative climate that finds divorce to fly in the face of tradition?