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3306.0.55.001 - Marriages, Australia, 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/10/2007   
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NOTES

ABOUT THIS PRODUCT


This electronic product, Marriages, Australia 2006 (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001) provides information on marriages registered in Australia during the 2006 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 2006 data cube can be accessed through the 'Details' tab at the top of this page. Explanatory notes, abbreviations and a glossary of terms can be accessed through the 'Explanatory Notes' tab.

Information on marriages from 2002 onwards is available in the electronic product, Marriages, Australia (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001), free on the ABS website. Information on marriages for years prior to 2002 is available in the publication Marriages and Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3310.0), available for free on the ABS website. Information on divorces from 2002 onwards is available in the electronic product, Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001).

REVISIONS

In processing 2006 Marriages data, the ABS identified errors in age data for 2005 Marriages. As a result, all 2005 age figures included in this publication are revised and may not match those published in the previous issue. The publication Marriages, Australia 2005 will be revised and re-issued in November 2007.

INQUIRIES


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or send an email to client.services@abs.gov.au.



SUMMARY COMMENTARY



REGISTERED MARRIAGES


In 2006, there were 114,222 registered marriages, representing an increase of 4,899 (4.5%) from 2005. This is the highest number of registrations since 1999. This increase in registration numbers is consistent across all states and territories, with the exception of Australian Capital Territory which fell by 1.0% (17) in 2006. New South Wales was the largest contributor to the increase in registrations at a national level, reporting a rise of 2,144 (6.0%) marriages from 2005 to 2006. A similar pattern also occurred for Victoria with an increase in registrations of 1,298 (5.1%). The number of registrations for Queensland, Tasmania and Northern Territory remained steady when compared with 2005.

Total marriages, 1986-2006, Australia
Total marriages, 1986-2006

CRUDE MARRIAGE RATE

The crude marriage rate (per 1,000 of estimated residential population) increased to 5.5 in 2006, up from 5.4 in 2005. Over the past twenty years the crude marriage rate has been in decline, although it has shown little movement since 2002. The crude marriage rate for Australia in 2006 is 23.6% lower than it was in 1986 (7.2 per 1,000 population), and 5.2% lower than in 1996 (5.8 per 1,000 population).

At a state and territory level, the crude marriage rate increased in 2006 in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, remained steady in Queensland, Tasmania, and Northern Territory and fell slightly in Australian Capital Territory. New South Wales recorded the largest increase from 5.3 in 2005 to 5.6 in 2006.

Queensland has recorded the highest crude marriage rate for 2006 (6.1 per 1,000 population). This has been the case for the last 11 years. Over the last 21 years, the Northern Territory has consistently recorded the lowest crude marriage rate in Australia. In 2006 the Northern Territory rate was 3.8 per 1,000 population, 1.7 below the rate for Australia.

Crude marriage rates, 1986-2006, Australia
Crude marriage rates, 1986-2006, Australia


AGE AT MARRIAGE


Median Age at Marriage


The median age at marriage for bridegrooms increased from 31.5 in 2005 to 31.6 years in 2006. For brides, the median age remained steady at 29.3 years.

Median age at marriage has been increasing gradually over the past 20 years for both bridegrooms and brides. Since 1986, median age at marriage has increased 4.3 years for bridegrooms and 4.4 years for brides.

In 2006, bridegrooms and brides in Northern Territory were the oldest at time of marriage with a median age of 33.6 years and 30.1 years respectively. Bridegrooms have remained two years above the national median, whereas for brides the difference was only one year above in 2006 . This continues the trend of the past 20 years where Northern Territorians have been the oldest in Australia at time of marriage.

Median age at marriage, Selected years, Australia
Median age at marriage, Bride and bridegroom, Selected years, Australia

The median age at first marriage for bridegrooms has continued to increase in 2006, from 29.5 years in 2005 to 29.6 years in 2006. Median age at first marriage for brides has remained steady at 27.6 years in 2006. In 1986, the respective median ages at first marriage were 25.6 years and 23.5 years.

Median age at first marriage, Selected years, Australia
Median age at first marriage, Bride and bridegroom, Selected years, Australia
Age-specific marriage rates

Age-specific marriage rates are calculated as marriages per 1,000 of estimated resident population as at 30 June each year. In 2006, the peak age group for bridegrooms and brides marrying was 25-29 years (46.3 and 51.6 respectively). In 1986 the peak age group was 20-24 years for bridegrooms (53.5) and brides (73.9 ). In 1996 the peak age group for bridegrooms was 25-29 years (48.8 ) followed by 20-24 years (27.5 ). In 1996 the peak age group for brides was also 25-29 years (46.5) followed closely by the 20-24 year age group (45.9).

The 30-34 and 35-39 year age groups for both bridegrooms and brides have recorded the highest growth since 1986. Bridegrooms in the 30-34 year age group had a marriage rate of 26.0 in 1986, 28.7 in 1996 and 36.7 in 2006. Brides also showed a similar trend with 18.8 in 1986, 22.2 in 1996 and 31.3 in 2006. For the 35-39 year age group bridegrooms were 14.4 in 1986, 15.4 in 1996 and 19.4 in 2006. Marriage rates for brides in this age group were 11.0 in 1986, 11.4 in 1996 and 14.9 in 2006. These trends demonstrate the move towards people marrying later in life.

Age-specific marriage rates, Australia
Age-specific marriage rates, Bride and bridegroom, Australia

MARITAL STATUS AT MARRIAGE

The number of marriages registered in 2006 increased across all categories of previous marital status, for both bridegrooms and brides.

The largest increase was in the Never married category, up 3,992 (4.8%) for bridegrooms and 4,307 (5.1%) for brides. Bridegrooms who were previously Never married comprised 76.4% of all bridegrooms in 2006, and brides who were previously Never married comprised 78.1%.

The proportion of bridegrooms previously divorced decreased from 22.1% to 21.9% of all married bridegrooms from 2005 to 2006. For brides, the proportion who had previously been divorced also decreased, down from 20.4% in 2005 to 20.0% in 2006.

The proportion of bridegrooms previously widowed decreased from 1.8% to 1.7% from 2005 to 2006, while the proportion of brides who had previously been widowed remained steady at 1.9%.

Marriages in which neither party had been previously married made up 68.4% (78,178) of all marriages in 2006, while a further 17.6%
(20,122) were first marriages for one partner. The remaining 13.9% of marriages (15,922) were remarriages for both partners.


COHABITATION PRIOR TO MARRIAGE

Of the 114,222 couples who registered a marriage in 2006, 76.1% indicated that they had cohabited prior to registering their marriage. This compares with 64.7% in 1997. Cohabitation before marriage was most likely for those who married in the Northern Territory(85.4% of all marriages) in 2006, and least likely in New South Wales (69.1% of all marriages).

In 2006, 81.2% of bridegrooms in the 35-39 years age group cohabited before marriage compared with 53.1% of bridegrooms aged 19 years and under. Brides in the 30-34 years age group were most likely to cohabit before marriage (81.9%) while brides aged 19 years and under were the least likely (55.3%).

Proportion cohabiting prior to marriage, Australia
Proportion cohabiting prior to marriage, Brides and groomsAustralia

MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS


In 2006, marriages performed by civil celebrants again outnumbered marriages performed by ministers of religion. This trend commenced in 1999 when 51.3% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. By 2006, this proportion had increased to 61.3%. In comparison, in 1986 only 40.5% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants.

In 2006, couples who cohabit before marrying are more likely to marry in a civil ceremony (68.5%) than those who do not (31.5%) and account for 84.9% of civil ceremonies, similar to 85.1% in 2005.

In 2006, the highest proportion of civil marriages was in the Northern Territory (72.5%). The Northern Territory has had the highest proportion of civil marriages for the past twenty years. Whilst New South Wales had the largest increase in civil marriages, it had the lowest proportion of civil marriages (56.8%).

Of the 44,117 marriages performed by ministers of religion in 2006, the most common rites used were Catholic (32.9%) followed by Anglican (18.2%). Catholic rites were most common in all states except Tasmania, where Anglican rites accounted for 30.5% of religious ceremonies and Catholic rites for 23.3%. Anglican rites were the second most common in all states and territories except Tasmania, where they were the most common rites, and South Australia, where they were third most common after Catholic and Uniting Church.

Category of celebrant, 1986-2006, Australia

Category of celebrant, 1986-2006, Australia

COUNTRY OF BIRTH

In 2006, 61.0% of marriages were of couples where both parties were born in Australia. A further 9.0% of marriages were of parties born in the same overseas country, and 30.0% marriages were of males and females born in different countries. In 1986, the comparative proportions were 64.1%, 6.7% and 29.2% respectively.

In 2006, the median age at marriage of bridegrooms and brides born in Australia was 31.2 years and 29.0 years respectively.

Bridegrooms born in Italy and Greece had the highest median age at marriage, 46.5 years and 40.0 years respectively. In contrast, bridegrooms born in India had the lowest median age at marriage (27.9 years). For brides, those born in Italy had the highest median age at marriage (41.6 years) followed by those born in the United Kingdom (35.1 years). In contrast, brides born in Lebanon had the lowest median age at marriage (25.3 years).


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 (8.9), Mauritius (8.8) and the United States of America (7.8). Australia falls in the mid range with 5.5. The lowest crude marriage rate was recorded by Venezuela(2.8), followed by Panama (3.3), Chile (3.6) and France and Italy (4.3).


Selected marriage indicators(a), Australia - Selected years - 1986-2006(b)

1986
1996
2001
2002
2003
2004(c)
2005
2006

ALL MARRIAGES

Marriages registeredno.
114 913
106 103
103 130
105 435
106 394
110 958
109 323
114 222
Crude marriage rate(d)rate
7.2
5.8
5.3
5.4
5.4
5.5
5.4
5.5
Previous marital status
First marriage both partnersno.
76 674
70 438
68 987
69 861
70 644
74 581
74 303
78 178
First marriage one partnerno.
21 398
19 657
18 889
19 462
19 678
19 994
19 573
20 122
Remarriage both partnersno.
16 841
16 008
15 254
16 112
16 072
16 382
15 447
15 922
Marriages performed by
Ministers of religion
Numberno.
68 405
56 462
48 372
47 400
46 187
45 857
44 218
44 117
Proportion%
59.5
53.2
46.9
45.0
43.4
41.3
40.4
38.6
Civil celebrants
Numberno.
46 505
49 641
54 758
58 035
60 207
65 100
65 105
70 105
Proportion%
40.5
46.8
53.1
55.0
56.6
58.7
59.6
61.4
Relative birthplace of bridegroom and bride(e)
Both born in Australiano.
73 663
68 182
64 373
65 020
65 436
68 639
67 085
69 710
Both born in the same overseas countryno.
7 750
8 666
8 611
9 210
9 502
9 686
9 546
10 334
Born in different countriesno.
33 450
29 252
30 130
31 184
31 444
32 630
32 640
34 126
Cohabitation prior to marriage
Numberno.
na
na
74 244
77 024
79 311
83 728
83 002
86 937
Proportion%
na
na
72.0
73.1
74.5
75.5
75.9
76.1

na not available
(a) See Glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) Due to the randomisation process applied to small cells for confidentiality purposes, components may not add to total.
(c) 2004 data is subject to sampling error. See Explanatory Notes paragraph 11 for further information.
(d) Per 1,000 of population at 30 June. Rates for 2005 are revised. Rates for 2006 are preliminary.
(e) Excludes marriages where country of birth of one or both partners is not stated.


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