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3306.0.55.001 - Marriages, Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/10/2005   
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ABOUT THIS PRODUCT

This electronic product, Marriages, Australia 2004 (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001) provides information on marriages registered in Australia during the 2004 calendar year. Key indicators of marriages at the national and state level are included in the analytical commentary below. Detailed marriage tables are available in a data cube. The data cube can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of this page and following the data cube link for 2004. A glossary of terms and explanatory notes about marriage statistics can be accessed using the web-links provided on this page.

In 2004, marriage registrations were sampled for the larger states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, while the other states and territories were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. See technical notes for an explanation and calculation of sampling error.

This publication uses suppression of small cells to protect confidentiality. Previously small cells were randomised to protect confidentiality. Tables 5 and 6 that contain country of birth data have been affected such that it is not possible to compare with previous years.

Information on divorces from 2002 onwards is available in the electronic product, Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001).



UNAVAILABILITY OF DATA

Post 2001 Estimated Resident Population (ERP) by marital status is not yet available. Therefore in Tables 3 and 4, 2001 data is the latest available year.



INQUIRIES

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



SUMMARY COMMENTARY



REGISTERED MARRIAGES

In 2004, there were 111,000 marriages registered in Australia. This compares with 106,400 registered marriages in 2003 and 108,700 registered in 1984. The number of marriages registered has consistently increased since the low of 103,100 marriages registered in 2001.

All the states and territories recorded increases in the number of registered marriages. Western Australia (11%) and the Australian Capital Territory (10%) recorded the largest increase. New South Wales and Victoria recorded the smallest increase in the number of marriages registered (2%).

The crude marriage rate (per 1,000 of population) increased to 5.5 in 2004, up from 5.4 in 2003 and 2002. While marginally higher in 2004, the crude rate has fallen over the last two decades, down from 7.0 in 1984.

Queensland had the highest crude marriage rate of all states and territories in 2004 (6.3 per 1,000 population), while the Northern Territory recorded the lowest crude marriage rate of 3.9 per 1,000 population.


TOTAL MARRIAGES
graph: Total Marriages


AGE AT MARRIAGE

The trend towards older age at marriage continued in 2004. The median age at marriage for men was 32 years, rising from 27 years in 1984. For women the median age rose to 29 years in 2004 from 24 years in 1984.

The median age at first marriage also increased. In 2004, the median age was 29 years for men and 28 years for women. In 1984, the respective median ages at first marriage were 25 years and 23 years.


FIRST MARRIAGES AND REMARRIAGES

Marriages in which neither party had been previously married comprised 67% of all marriages registered in 2004. A further 18% were marriages in which one partner had been previously married and 15% were remarriages for both partners. These proportions have remained constant over the last 20 years.

Overall, grooms had a shorter interval between previous and current marriage than brides. In 2004, the median interval to remarriage was 3.8 years for grooms compared with 4.4 years for brides. The median interval to remarriage varied by marital status. Previously widowed grooms and brides had a longer interval to remarriage (4.4 and 6.7 years respectively) than previously divorced grooms and brides (3.7 and 4.2 years respectively).

Of the grooms remarrying in 2004, 30% had children aged under 16 years from previous marriages. This proportion was the same for brides remarrying in 2004. The average number of children to grooms and brides remarrying was 1.6.


MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS

In 2004, marriages performed by civil celebrants again outnumbered marriages performed by ministers of religion. This trend commenced in 1999 when 51% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. By 2004, this proportion had increased to 59%. In comparison, in 1984 only 40% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants.

The proportion of civil celebrated marriages was highest in the Northern Territory (75%) and lowest in South Australia (55%).

Of those marriages performed by ministers of religion in 2004, Catholic ceremonies were the most common (32%).

CATEGORY OF CELEBRANT
Graph: Marriages by category of celebrant



COUNTRY OF BIRTH

In 2004, 62% of marriages were where both parties were born in Australia. A further 9% were marriages to couples born in the same overseas country, and 29% were marriages to males and females from different countries. In 1984, the comparative proportions were 65%, 6% and 29% respectively.

Grooms born in Greece had the highest median age at marriage (45 years). In contrast, grooms born in China had the lowest median age at marriage (29 years). Similarly for brides, those born in Greece had the highest median age at marriage (38 years) while brides born in India had the lowest median age at marriage (27 years).


COHABITATION PRIOR TO MARRIAGE

Of the 111,000 couples who registered a marriage in 2004, 76% indicated that they had cohabited prior to registering their marriage. This proportion has been increasing consistently since 1999, when 69% of couples reported they had cohabited prior to marriage. Cohabitation before marriage was most likely for those who married in the Northern Territory (85% of all marriages) in 2004, and least likely in New South Wales (70% of all marriages).

Couples who cohabit before marrying are more likely to marry in a civil ceremony (66%) than all couples (59%).

In 2004, grooms from New Zealand (85%), Ireland (85%) and the United Kingdom (83%) were most likely to cohabit before marriage. Similarly brides from Ireland (94%), New Zealand (87%) and the United Kingdom (85%) were most likely to cohabit before marriage.


INTERNATIONAL COMPARISON

Of the countries selected for comparison (refer data cube table 2) Viet Nam had the highest crude marriage rate (12.1 per 1,000 population), followed by Iran (9.9 per 1,000 population), Egypt (8.4 per 1,000 population) and the United States of America (7.8 per 1,000 population). The lowest crude marriage rate was recorded by South Africa (3.5 per 1,000 population), followed by Chile (3.9 per 1,000 population), Sweden (4.3 per 1,000 population) and Italy (4.6 per 1,000 population).


Selected marriage indicators(a), Australia - Selected years - 1984-2004

1984
1994
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004

ALL MARRIAGES

Marriages registeredno.
108,655
111,174
114,316
113,429
103,130
105,435
106,394
110,958
Crude marriage rate(b)rate
7.0
6.2
6.0
5.9
5.3
5.4
5.4
5.5
Previous marital status
First marriage both partnersno.
72,540
75,045
76,440
75,503
68,987
69,861
70,644
74,581
First marriage one partnerno.
20,394
20,159
21,386
21,185
18,889
19,462
19,678
19,994
Remarriage both partnersno.
15,721
15,970
16,490
16,741
15,254
16,112
16,072
16,382
Marriages performed by
Ministers of religion
Numberno.
65,681
63,265
55,720
53,521
48,372
47,400
46,187
45,857
Proportion%
60.4
56.9
48.7
47.2
46.9
45.0
43.4
41.3
Civil celebrants
Numberno.
42,974
47,909
58,596
59,908
54,758
58,035
60,207
65,100
Proportion%
39.6
43.1
51.3
52.8
53.1
55.0
56.6
58.7
Relative birthplace of bridegroom and bride(c)
Both born in Australiano.
71,107
71,165
72,354
72,122
64,373
65,020
65,436
68,639
Both born in the same overseas countryno.
6,517
8,853
9,751
9,262
8,611
9,210
9,502
9,686
Born in different countriesno.
30,969
30,652
32,190
32,032
30,130
31,184
31,444
32,630
Cohabitation prior to marriage
Numberno.
na
na
78,800
80,893
74,244
77,024
79,311
83,728
Proportion%
na
na
68.9
71.3
72.0
73.1
74.5
75.5

na not available
(a) See glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) Per 1,000 population.
(c) Excludes marriages where country of birth of one or both partners is not stated.

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