The number of divorce cases throughout Viet Nam had increased by half over the last five years, the People's Supreme Court has told Viet Nam News.

The court's latest figures show almost 88,000 divorces were recorded last year in comparison to 84,300 cases in 2009 and 60,500 cases in 2005.

"Divergence in lifestyle" was the reason for the majority of last year's cases, 66 percent, followed by domestic violence (7 percent), drug addiction, alcoholism and gambling (4.5 percent), extra-marital affairs (4.46 percent) and economic reasons (4 percent).

Only 1.6 percent of cases involved non-Vietnamese.

Couples aged under 30 accounted for 36 percent of the cases.

Civilian judge Ngo Hong Quan said many of the couples in the cases he handled had been married for about five years.

"Recently, I've dealt with many cases involving those born in the 1980s whereas the majority of cases I did in previous years were filed by couples born in the 1970s," said Quan.

According to the General Statistics Office's 2011 report on Age-sex Structure and Marital Status of the Population in Vietnam , divorce and separation in Vietnam were associated mainly to those with low educational backgrounds, middle-aged women, infertile women, non-working males, those with memory disabilities, the Kinh majority, the urban population and those living in the Southeast and the Mekong River Delta.

Co-director of the Institute for Social Development Studies Khuat Thu Hong said looser family ties and increased independence among women were to blame for the significant increase in divorce cases.

"Family members used to economically depend on each other much more than they do today," she said.

"The [divorce] cases filed by women now outnumbers those filed by men, showing that women are much stronger and independent."

The facts that Vietnamese society no longer looks down on divorce, and that divorced women had more chance of remarrying than in the late 20th century also led to the trend, she said./.