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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.
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
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.
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).
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