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3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2003   
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NOTES

ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publication usually brings together statistics and indicators for marriages and divorces registered in Australia. It also provides details of the marital status of the estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia. In this issue data for divorces for 2002 are not available due to delays in the provision of information by the Family Court of Australia.

This is the last issue of Marriages and Divorces, Australia, (cat. no. 3310.0) to be produced in this format. It is intended to release future information on marriage, divorce and marital status ERP as electronic releases via the ABS web site with periodic articles in appropriate compendium releases.

For marriage data small values have been randomised to protect confidentiality.

UNAVAILABILITY OF DATA

Data unavailable in this issue are:

  • All divorces data
  • Marital status specific rates for marriages, 2002
  • Marital status estimated resident population, 2002.

REVISIONS

Marital status specific ERPs are revised for 1997 to 2001, based on the Census of Population and Housing, 2001 (2001 census) and are final.

All marital status specific rates for 1997 to 2001 are revised in line with the ERP revisions (based on the 2001 census) and are now final.


REGISTERED MARRIAGES

Number registered

In 2002 there were 105,400 marriages registered in Australia, an increase of 2,300 (2%) when compared with 2001 and a decrease of 11,800 (10%) on 1982.

Downward trend

While marriage rates per 1,000 unmarried population (aged 15 years and over) are not yet available for 2002, the marriage rate trend since 1981 shows that marriage is declining. Marriage rates for the unmarried population fell in 2001 to 31 per 1,000 unmarried men and 28 per 1,000 unmarried women from 35 and 32, respectively in 2000 and 55 and 53, respectively in 1982.


MARRIAGE RATES(a)

Graph - marriage rates, time series
(a) Per 1,000 unmarried men or women, aged 15 years and over.

    Men and women are marrying at older ages

    The trend towards older age at marriage continued in 2002. The median age at marriage for men was 31 years, rising from 26 years in 1982. For women the median age rose to 29 years in 2002 from 24 years in 1982.

    The median age at first marriage also rose. In 2002 it was 29 years for men and 27 years for women. Twenty years ago the respective median ages at first marriage were 25 years and 22 years.

    First marriages and remarriages

    In 2002 marriages in which neither party had been previously married comprised 66% of all marriages registered. A further 18% were first marriages for one partner and a remarriage for the other and 15% were remarriages for both partners. These proportions were similar to those recorded in 1982.

    Children

    Children of marriage are defined as children of previous marriages, aged under 16 years. In 2002, 31% of grooms remarrying had children from a previous marriage. For brides the proportion remarrying with children was similar at 33%. Twenty years ago the comparative proportions were lower, 17% each for both grooms and brides.

    Category of celebrant

    In 2002 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 2002 this proportion had increased to 55%. Twenty years ago only 39% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants.

    Cohabitation prior to marriage

    The increasing trend to cohabit prior to entering a registered marriage continued in 2002. Marriage data for 2002 indicated that 73% of couples cohabited prior to marriage. Comparative data from the 1991 Family Survey showed that twenty years ago only 30% of couples had lived together prior to marriage.

    In 2002 the Northern Territory (81%) recorded the highest proportion cohabiting prior to marriage and New South Wales recorded the lowest (69%).


    ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION

    The estimated resident population, aged 15 years and over, by marital status at 30 June 2002 is not yet available. The total population, aged 15 years and over, was 15.7 million persons at 30 June 2002. The latest available marital status estimates are at 30 June 2001.

    In June 2001 there were 15.4 million people aged 15 years and over in the population, a rise of 38% on 1981. The 2001 population was comprised of 4.9 million never married, 8.4 million married, 940,000 widowed and 1.1 million divorced persons. The largest proportional increase over the past twenty years was in the divorced population, increasing by 172% between 1981 and 2001.

    Between 1981 and 2001 the median age of the population, aged 15 years and over, increased from 38 years in 1981 to 42 years in 2001. The increase in the median age was evident in each marital status and for both males and females.


    MARITAL STATUS AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS (Persons aged 15 years and over)

    The ABS measures two separate concepts of marital status, registered marital status and social marital status. For further information see the special article in Chapter 2, Marital Status and Living Arrangements.

    The 2001 census showed that 8 million men and women were living as partners in couple relationships and that 12% of these were de facto married. Ten years prior the 1991 census indicated that around 7.2 million men and women were living as partners in couple relationships and that 8% of these were de facto married.

    The number of lone parents is increasing. In 2001, 762,600 men and women were living as lone parents up from 552,300 in 1991, an increase of 38%. The vast majority of lone parents were females. In 2001 lone parents were comprised of 127,500 males (17%) and 635,100 females (83%).

    Between the 1991 and 2001 censuses the number of men and women living as lone persons increased from 1.1 million to 1.6 million, an increase of 43%. While the majority of lone persons were females (55%), males outnumbered females in all age groups up to and including the age group 45-54 years. For the age group 65 years and over females outnumbered males by almost three to one. This is due to the high number of females who are widowed above this age.


    SAME-SEX DE FACTO LIVING ARRANGEMENTS (Persons aged 15 years and over)

    The 1996 and 2001 censuses identified the number of persons stated to be same-sex de facto married. For further information see the special article in Chapter 3, Same-sex De Facto Living Arrangements.

    The examination of this data may have limitations, including a reluctance of persons to identify as being in a same-sex de facto marriage and a lack of knowledge that same-sex couples would be counted as such in the 2001 census.

    In 2001 the census count of persons, aged 15 years and over, in same-sex de facto marriages was 37,800 persons.

    In 2001 same-sex de facto married represented 0.5% of all persons living as social married.

    New South Wales had the highest proportion of male, same-sex married (0.4%) while the Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of female, same-sex married (0.4%). The lowest proportions for both male and female, same-sex married were in Tasmania (each 0.1%).

    Children were present in 11% of same-sex de facto married households compared with 42% of opposite-sex de facto married and 59% of registered married.



    MARRIAGES REGISTERED, Summary(a), States and territories, 2002

    NSW
    VIC
    QLD
    SA
    WA
    TAS
    NT
    ACT
    AUST

    MARRIAGES REGISTERED

    Marriages registeredno.
    36,321
    25,058
    21,264
    7,373
    10,484
    2,605
    747
    1,583
    105,435
    Crude marriage raterate
    5.5
    5.1
    5.7
    4.8
    5.4
    5.5
    3.8
    4.9
    5.4
    Previous marital status
    First marriage both partnersno.
    24,724
    17,085
    13,444
    4,703
    6,807
    1,579
    459
    1,060
    69,861
    First marriage one partnerno.
    6,633
    4,435
    4,149
    1,323
    1,950
    520
    170
    282
    19,462
    Remarriage both partnersno.
    4,964
    3,538
    3,671
    1,347
    1,727
    506
    118
    241
    16,112
    Marriages performed by
    Ministers of religion
    Numberno.
    17,711
    11,721
    8,424
    3,442
    4,154
    995
    224
    729
    47,400
    Proportion%
    48.8
    46.8
    39.6
    46.7
    39.6
    38.2
    30.0
    46.1
    45.0
    Civil celebrants
    Numberno.
    18,610
    13,337
    12,840
    3,931
    6,330
    1,610
    523
    854
    58,035
    Proportion%
    51.2
    53.2
    60.4
    53.3
    60.4
    61.8
    70.0
    53.9
    55.0
    Cohabitation prior to marriage
    Numberno.
    24,982
    17,667
    16,955
    5,435
    8,107
    2,073
    603
    1,202
    77,024
    Proportion%
    68.8
    70.5
    79.7
    73.7
    77.3
    79.6
    80.7
    75.9
    73.1

    BRIDEGROOM

    Age-specific marriage rates(b)
    Age group (years)
    19 and underrate
    1.0
    0.6
    1.1
    0.5
    0.6
    0.6
    0.4
    0.4
    0.8
    20-24rate
    23.0
    17.6
    23.8
    19.8
    18.1
    24.9
    10.7
    14.9
    20.8
    25-29rate
    48.0
    46.0
    47.5
    44.2
    43.9
    53.2
    20.8
    40.2
    46.3
    30-34rate
    33.0
    31.8
    34.5
    28.4
    34.5
    34.0
    18.2
    28.2
    32.5
    35-39rate
    16.9
    16.4
    19.0
    15.1
    17.9
    20.2
    11.6
    13.8
    17.1
    40-44rate
    9.9
    9.5
    11.1
    9.8
    10.5
    12.1
    8.1
    8.5
    10.1
    45-49rate
    7.1
    6.8
    8.2
    7.1
    8.1
    10.0
    6.9
    6.7
    7.4
    50 and overrate
    3.2
    3.1
    4.1
    3.5
    3.9
    4.0
    4.0
    4.0
    3.5
    Marital status at marriage
    Never marriedno.
    27,861
    19,168
    15,413
    5,333
    7,730
    1,811
    532
    1,185
    79,033
    Widowedno.
    620
    461
    450
    207
    218
    75
    12
    29
    2,072
    Divorcedno.
    7,840
    5,429
    5,401
    1,833
    2,536
    719
    203
    369
    24,330
    Totalno.
    36,321
    25,058
    21,264
    7,373
    10,484
    2,05
    747
    1,583
    105,435
    Median age at marriage
    Never marriedyears
    28.9
    29.2
    28.9
    28.8
    29.5
    28.8
    29.9
    28.6
    29.0
    Widowedyears
    62.8
    62.4
    61.5
    64.4
    61.4
    (c)np
    (c)np
    (c)np
    62.3
    Divorcedyears
    43.2
    43.4
    43.8
    44.4
    44.3
    43.9
    44.5
    43.7
    43.6
    Totalyears
    30.7
    30.9
    31.1
    31.1
    31.6
    31.6
    32.3
    30.7
    31.0

    BRIDE

    Age-specific marriage rates(b)
    Age group (years)
    19 and underrate
    5.2
    3.2
    3.8
    3.0
    3.1
    3.1
    2.6
    2.4
    3.9
    20-24rate
    38.6
    29.8
    38.2
    36.0
    33.5
    42.8
    19.4
    24.4
    35.2
    25-29rate
    48.9
    48.3
    49.3
    47.8
    48.5
    54.4
    26.8
    42.6
    48.4
    30-34rate
    27.6
    26.9
    28.0
    23.0
    29.0
    29.2
    15.6
    24.8
    27.1
    35-39rate
    12.8
    12.7
    14.5
    12.2
    13.4
    12.8
    11.2
    9.5
    13.0
    40-44rate
    7.3
    7.0
    8.6
    7.7
    8.4
    8.9
    6.5
    7.3
    7.6
    45-49rate
    5.7
    5.4
    6.9
    5.5
    6.8
    8.2
    4.9
    3.9
    6.0
    50 and overrate
    1.8
    1.7
    2.4
    2.2
    2.2
    2.3
    2.5
    2.1
    2.0
    Marital status at marriage
    Never marriedno.
    28220
    19437
    15624
    5396
    7834
    1867
    556
    1217
    80151
    Widowedno.
    753
    528
    504
    222
    233
    80
    13
    26
    2359
    Divorcedno.
    7348
    5093
    5136
    1755
    2417
    658
    178
    340
    22925
    Totalno.
    36321
    25058
    21264
    7373
    10484
    2605
    747
    1583
    105435
    Median age at marriage
    Never marriedyears
    26.9
    27.5
    26.9
    26.7
    27.3
    26.8
    27.7
    27.2
    27.1
    Widowedyears
    54.5
    55.9
    55.9
    58.3
    54.8
    (c)np
    (c)np
    (c)np
    55.5
    Divorcedyears
    39.3
    39.5
    39.9
    40.8
    40.5
    41.3
    38.9
    39.9
    39.8
    Totalyears
    28.6
    29.1
    29.0
    28.8
    29.3
    29.1
    29.4
    28.7
    28.9

    np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
    (a) See Glossary for definitions of terns used.
    (b) Per 1,000 males or females, respectively, at 30 June. Males and females under 15 years are excluded from the population.
    (c) Not statistically reliable due to the small numbers involved.


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