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3306.0.55.001 - Marriages, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/09/2008   
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NOTES


ABOUT THIS RELEASE

Marriage statistics provide valuable information for the analysis of family formation in Australia. This electronic product presents data at the national and state level on registered marriages by age, previous martial status, country of birth and relative country of birth of both males and females, type of celebrant, number of children under 16 years of previous marriages and whether couples live together prior to marriage. Crude and age-specific marriage rates are also provided.

This product replaced the marriages component of Marriages and Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3310.0) from 2003 onwards. Divorces data from 2002 onwards can be found in the electronic product Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001).



INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


SUMMARY COMMENTARY


SUMMARY OF MARRIAGES

Selected marriage indicators(a), Australia - Selected years, 1988-2007

ALL MARRIAGES
1988
1998
2003
2004(b)
2005
2006
2007

Marriages registered (no.)
116 816
110 598
106 394
110 958
109 323
114 222
116 322
Crude marriage rate(c) (rate)
7.1
5.9
5.3
5.5
5.4
5.5
5.5
Median age at marriage
Males (no.)
27.8
29.8
31.2
31.5
31.5
31.6
31.6
Females (no.)
25.4
27.7
29.1
29.2
29.3
29.3
29.3
Previous marital status
First marriage both partners (no.)
78 400
73 743
70 644
74 581
74 303
78 178
80 347
First marriage one partner (no.)
21 886
20 705
19 678
19 994
19 573
20 122
20 023
Remarriage both partners (no.)
16 530
16 150
16 072
16 382
15 447
15 922
15 952
Marriage Celebrant
Ministers of religion(d)
Number of marriages (no.)
68 553
55 807
46 187
45 857
44 218
44 117
43 047
Proportion of marriages (%)
58.7
50.5
43.4
41.3
40.4
38.6
37.0
Civil celebrants(d)
Number of marriages (no.)
48 263
54 791
60 207
65 100
65 105
70 105
73 187
Proportion of marriages (%)
41.3
49.5
56.6
58.7
59.6
61.4
62.9
Relative birthplace of male and female(e)
Both born in Australia (no.)
72 737
70 876
65 436
68 639
67 085
69 710
70 347
Both born in the same overseas country (no.)
8 904
8 890
9 502
9 686
9 546
10 334
11 101
Born in different countries (no.)
35 175
30 832
31 444
32 630
32 640
34 126
34 759
Couples living together prior to marriage
Number of marriages (no.)
na
74 374
79 311
83 728
83 002
86 937
89 364
Proportion of marriages (%)
na
67.2
74.5
75.5
75.9
76.1
76.8

na not available
(a) See Glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) 2004 data is subject to sampling error. See Explanatory Note 36 for further information.
(c) Per 1,000 of population at 30 June. Rates for 2005 are revised. Rates for 2006 and 2007 are preliminary
(d) Excludes marriages where the rite is not stated or not defined. Registers of ministers of religion are maintained by states and territories under the authority of the Marriage Act 1961. Data on religious marriage rites are classified to the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups, 1996 (ASCRG, cat. no. 1266.0).
(e) Excludes marriages where country of birth of one or both partners is not stated.



NUMBER OF MARRIAGES REGISTERED

In 2007, there were 116,322 registered marriages, representing an increase of 2,100 (1.8%) from 2006. This is the highest number of marriages registered in a single year since 1990.

Total marriages - 1998-2007
Graph: Total marriages—1998-2007



CRUDE MARRIAGE RATE

The crude marriage rate is calculated as the number of marriages registered during a calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June of the same year. This provides a measure of marriage in relation to the total population. Refer to the Glossary and Explanatory Note 25 for further definition.

Although the number of marriages is comparable with those of 20 years ago, the population has increased over this time. As a result, the crude marriage rate is lower than it was 20 years ago. In 2007, the crude marriage rate was 5.5 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population, compared with 7.1 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1988. Between 1988 and 2001, the crude marriage rate declined from 7.1 to 5.3, however, since 2001, there has been a slight upward trend.

Crude marriage rate - 1988-2007
Graph: Crude marriage rate—1988-2007



AGE AT MARRIAGE

Median Age at Marriage

The median age of people married in 2007 was 31.6 years for males and 29.3 years for females.

Median age at marriage has been increasing gradually over the past 20 years for both males and females. Since 1988, the median age at marriage has increased by 3.8 years for males and 3.9 years for females. Since 2003, there has been little increase in median age of people getting married, increasing just 0.4 years for males and 0.2 years for females.

Median age at marriage - 1988-2007
Graph: Median age at marriage—1988-2007


Median age of people getting married for the first time is slightly lower than total median age. In 2007, median age of males married for the first time was 29.6 years, and 27.6 years for females. By comparison, in 1988 the median age at first marriage was 26.1 years for males and 24.0 years for females.

Median age at first marriage - 1988-2007
Graph: Median age at first marriage—1988-2007



Age-specific marriage rates

Age-specific marriage rates can provide a more detailed picture of age at which people marry. These rates give an indication of the proportion of all males or females in a particular age group who were married in a given year. Further information on calculation of age-specific marriage rates is provided in the Glossary and Explanatory Notes 26-27.

For both males and females, the highest age-specific marriage rates were in the 25-29 year age group, with 46.4 per 1,000 males in this age group and 52.0 per 1,000 females married in 2007. In 1988 the highest age-specific marriage rate for males was also in the 25-29 year age group (53.7 per 1,000 males), however for females, the highest rate was amongst the 20-24 year age group (70.6 per 1,000 females).

Age-specific marriage rates(a), Australia - Selected years, 1988-2007

1988
1998
2003
2004(b)
2005
2006
2007
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate

Males
Age-specific marriage rates(a)
Age group (years)
19 and under
2.4
1.0
0.8
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.9
20-24
48.5
26.2
19.2
18.7
18.4
18.3
18.1
25-29
53.7
50.8
46.4
47.6
45.4
46.3
46.4
30-34
27.6
31.0
33.5
35.5
35.2
36.7
36.7
35-39
15.1
16.4
17.5
18.8
18.5
19.4
19.7
40-44
10.1
9.8
10.3
10.6
10.5
11.1
11.3
45-49
7.7
7.5
7.4
7.8
7.7
8.1
8.1
50 and over
3.6
3.5
3.5
3.6
3.3
3.6
3.7
Females
Age-specific marriage rates(a)
Age group (years)
19 and under
12.7
5.2
3.8
3.8
3.3
3.0
3.7
20-24
70.6
44.4
34.0
33.3
32.7
32.2
31.7
25-29
43.7
50.2
49.2
52.6
50.7
51.6
52.0
30-34
20.3
24.4
28.0
29.5
29.6
31.3
31.3
35-39
11.2
12.1
13.5
14.1
14.3
14.9
15.4
40-44
7.8
7.5
7.9
8.3
8.0
8.4
8.5
45-49
6.1
6.0
5.9
6.2
6.0
6.2
6.5
50 and over
1.9
1.9
2.0
2.1
2.0
2.1
2.1

(a) Per 1,000 estimated residential population of males and females, respectively, at 30 June. From 2007 onwards, only those people aged 16 years and over, and therefore eligible to marry according to the Marriages Act 1961, are included. Prior to 2007, people aged 15 to 19 years are included.
(b) 2004 data is subject to sampling error. See Explanatory Notes paragraph 36 for further information



PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS

Previous marital status of people getting married has remained relatively stable over the past 20 years. In 2007, 77.7% of people married had not been married previously. For males, this applied to 76.8% of all marriages, with a further 1.7% of males having been widowed prior to getting married, and 21.5% having been divorced. For females, 78.5% had not been previously married, with a further 1.8% having been widowed prior to marriage, and 19.6% having been divorced.

Marriages in which neither party had previously been married made up 69.1% (80,347) of all marriages in 2007, while a further 17.2% (20,023) were first marriages for one partner. The remaining 13.7% of marriages (15,952) were remarriages for both partners.


MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS

In 2007, couples who lived together before marrying were more likely to marry in a civil ceremony than those who lived apart, with 70.0% of couples living together married in civil ceremony, compared with 39.4% of those who lived apart.

Civil marriages have outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999 when 51.3% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. In 2007, the trend toward civil ceremonies continued, with 62.9% of marriages performed by civil celebrants.

Of the 43,077 marriages performed by ministers of religion in 2007, the most common rites used were Catholic (33.0%) followed by Anglican (17.8%).

Type of celebrant, 1988-2007, Australia
Graph: Type of celebrant, 1988-2007, Australia



COUNTRY OF BIRTH

In 2007, 60.5% of marriages were of couples where both parties were born in Australia. A further 9.5% of marriages were of parties born in the same overseas country, and 29.9% marriages were of males and females born in different countries. In 1988, the comparative proportions were 62.3%, 7.6% and 30.1% respectively.

The median age of males and females born in Australia who married in 2007 was 31.2 years and 29.0 years respectively. Males born in Italy and Greece had the highest median age at marriage, 46.0 years and 43.3 years respectively. In contrast, males born in China (footnote 1) had the lowest median age at marriage (27.3 years). For females, those born in Italy had the highest median age at marriage (43.5 years) followed by those born in Greece (37.0 years). In contrast, females born in Lebanon had the lowest median age at marriage (24.9 years).


COUPLES LIVING TOGETHER PRIOR TO MARRIAGE

Of the 116,322 couples who registered a marriage in 2007, 76.8% indicated that they had lived together prior to registering their marriage. These couples tended to be slightly older than all people getting married. In 2007, the median age of males who lived with their wife before marriage was 32.0 years, compared 31.6 years for all males. Similarly, the median age of females who lived with their husbands before getting married was 29.7 years, compared with 29.3 years for all females.

Proportion of people living with their husband/wife prior to marriage, by age - 2007
Graph: Proportion of people living with their husband/wife prior to marriage, by age—2007



MONTH OF MARRIAGE

In 2007, the most popular month for marriages was March, with 15,071 (13.0%) marriages celebrated in this month. November followed with 12,838 (11.0%) marriages. August was the least popular month for weddings, with only 5,842 (5.0%) of marriages taking place in that month.

Months of marriage - 2007
Graph: Months of marriage—2007



STATE AND TERRITORY

Marriage statistics in this publication are presented by the state or territory where the marriage was registered, rather than the state of usual residence of the couple. For this reason, the ABS advises caution in the interpretation of data at a state or territory level as couples may chose to marry outside their state or territory of usual residence. Refer to Explanatory Notes 31-32 for more information.

In 2007, the greatest increase in the number of marriages registered was in Queensland (up by 765, 3.1%), followed by Western Australia (up 688, 5.9%). New South Wales registrations decreased (down 789, 0.2%), as did those for the Australian Capital Territory (down 28, 1.7%) and the Northern Territory (down 20, 2.5%).

Number of marriages, states and territories of registration(a) - Selected years, 1988-2007

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT

1988
40 812
30 687
18 850
10 128
10 578
3 035
782
1 944
1998
39 136
26 372
21 257
8 022
10 705
2 599
815
1 692
2003
36 872
25 211
22 273
7 609
9 549
2 599
723
1 558
2004(b)
37 431
25 587
24 312
7 883
10 601
2 648
777
1 719
2005
35 927
25 266
24 303
7 630
11 124
2 644
774
1 655
2006
38 071
26 564
25 043
7 841
11 602
2 664
799
1 638
2007
37 982
26 967
25 808
8 095
12 290
2 791
779
1 610

(a) Care should be taken in interpreting these figures as marriage data is by state of registration rather than usual residence. See Explanatory Notes 31-32 for further information.
(b) 2004 data is subject to sampling error. See Explanatory Note 36 for further information.


New South Wales had the highest number of marriages registered in 2007 (37,982) followed by Victoria (26,967) and Queensland (25,808).

New South Wales had the highest proportion of marriages performed by ministers of religion (41.8%), and also had the lowest proportion of couples living together before getting married (69.7%). By contrast, Northern Territory had the lowest proportion of marriages performed by ministers of religion (23.5%), however, Tasmania had the highest proportion of couples living together before getting married (85.0%).

Further detail of state and territory data is available in the associated data cubes in the Downloads tab on the website.

The following table provides a summary of selected indicators of marriages registered in 2007 by the state and territory in which the marriage was registered.

Selected marriage indicators(a), States and Territories of registration - 2007

ALL MARRIAGES
NSW
VIC
QLD
SA
WA
TAS
NT
ACT

Marriages registered(b) (no.)
37 982
26 967
25 808
8 095
12 290
2 791
779
1 610
Crude marriage rate(c) (rate)
5.5
5.2
6.2
5.1
5.8
5.7
3.6
4.7
Median age at marriage
Males (no.)
31.3
31.6
31.8
31.6
32.3
32.6
33.5
31.2
Females (no.)
29.0
29.5
29.4
29.2
29.6
30.0
30.3
29.0
Previous marital status
First marriage both partners (no.)
26 857
19 247
17 092
5 480
8 286
1 771
507
1 107
First marriage one partner (no.)
6 450
4 383
4 759
1 345
2 140
485
165
296
Remarriage both partners (no.)
4 675
3 337
3 957
1 270
1 864
535
107
207
Marriage Celebrants
Ministers of religion
Number of marriages (no.)
15 876
10 472
7 909
3 127
3 944
924
183
642
Proportion of marriages (%)
41.8
38.8
30.6
38.6
32.1
33.1
23.5
39.9
Civil celebrants
Number of marriages (no.)
22 084
16 472
17 887
4 968
8 346
1 866
596
968
Proportion of marriages (%)
58.1
61.1
69.3
61.4
67.9
66.9
76.5
60.1
Relative birthplace of male and female(d)
Both born in Australia (no.)
21 384
16 411
16 645
5 587
6 565
2 231
472
1 052
Both born in the same overseas country (no.)
4 849
2 853
1 663
439
1 081
62
48
106
Born in different countries (no.)
11 735
7 681
7 482
2 068
4 586
496
259
452
Couples living together prior to marriage
Number of marriages (no.)
26 470
20 467
21 709
6 315
10 120
2 372
627
1 284
Proportion of marriages (%)
69.7
75.9
84.1
78.0
82.3
85.0
80.5
79.8

(a) See Glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) By state or territory where the marriage is registered. See Explanatory notes 31-32 for further detail.
(c) Per 1,000 of population at 30 June. Rates for 2005 are revised. Rates for 2006 and 2007 are preliminary.
(d) Excludes marriages where country of birth of one or both partners is not stated.


1 China as a country of birth does not include those born in the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Taiwan. <back

15/10/2008 Note: Amendments were made to the Main Features page, specifically the graphical representation of Type of Celebrant data and the footnotes of the Selected marriage indicators, Australia table. No other data was affected.

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