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Note: A minor correction was made to the first paragraph under APPLICANT FOR DIVORCE in the Main Features. The commentary now refers to 1995 (instead of 1994) and 1985 (instead of 1984).
Divorces granted, Australia
Of all Australian states and territories in 2005, the highest number of divorces were granted in New South Wales (15,172), followed by Victoria (12,512) and Queensland (12,383).
In 2005, the Australian crude divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1,000 population) was 2.6. The crude divorce rate has been decreasing slowly since 2001 when it was 2.9.
Crude divorce rate, AustraliaThe latest available divorce rates based on the married population are for 2001. The divorce rate of the married population in 2001 was 13.1 per 1,000 married males or females. This represents an increase from 11.9 per 1,000 married males and 12.0 per 1,000 married females in 2000 and an increase from 11.6 per 1,000 married males and 11.5 per 1,000 married females in 1991 (See paragraph 20 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail).
LIKELIHOOD TO DIVORCE
Analysis of the most recent available data shows that the expectation of divorce is increasing. If a newly-born group of babies was exposed to 1997-1999 rates of marriage, widowhood, divorce, remarriage and mortality, 32% of their marriages would end in divorce. This is an increase on the proportion expected if 1990-1992 rates were applied (29%) and if 1985-1987 rates were applied (28%).
These trends are identified in a 'net nuptiality table' method that allows the calculation of marital events for future populations based upon current age-patterns of mortality, marriage, divorce, widowhood, and remarriage. (See Glossary for more details.)
For further information on likelihood to divorce see the Special Article 'Lifetime Marriage Formation and Marriage Dissolution in Australia' p.84 of Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2000 (cat. no. 3310.0).
AGE AT DIVORCE
The median age at divorce continued to increase in 2005, in line with a long term trend. The median age of males at divorce was 43.5 years, up from 43.0 years in 2004. In 1995, the median age of divorce was 40.0 years for males and in 1985 it was 37.1 years. Similarly, for females, the median age at divorce for 2005 increased to 40.8 years from 40.3 years in 2004. The comparative median ages for females at divorce for 1995 and 1985 were 37.1 years and 34.4 years respectively.
For both males and females the state or territory with the oldest median age at divorce for 2005 was Tasmania (44.7 years for males and 42.5 years for females). In 2005, the state or territory with the youngest median age at divorce for males was New South Wales (42.8 years) while for females it was the Northern Territory (39.8 years).The rise in the median age at divorce is associated with increasing age at marriage and the increase in the interval between marriage and divorce.
In 2005, the median age at marriage for divorcing males was 27.3 years, up from 27.1 years in 2004 and 25.6 years in 1995. For divorcing females, the median age at marriage was 24.8 years in 2005, up from 24.6 years in 2004 and 23 years in 1995.
In 2005, the state or territory with the youngest median age at first marriage was the Tasmania for males (26.9 years) and South Australia for females (24.4 years). The state and territory with the oldest median age at first marriage was the New South Wales for males (27.6 years) and females (25.1 years).
Median age at divorce, Australia
RELATIVE AGE OF DIVORCING PARTIES
At divorce, the difference between the median age of divorcing parties has been between 2.7 and 2.9 years over the last 20 years. In 2004 and 2005, the difference between the median age of divorcing parties was 2.7 years.
In 2005, 10.3% of divorcing couples were of the same age, 68.0% involved a younger wife and 20.0% involved a younger husband. Of all divorcing couples, 32.4% were aged 1-2 years apart, a further 21.8% 3-4 years apart, and 23.5% were aged 5-9 years apart. Couples with an age difference of 10 years or more accounted for 10.3% of divorcing couples.
The bigger the age difference of the divorcing couple, the more likely the divorcing husband was to be older than the wife. In 2005, for divorcing couples with an age difference of 1-2 years, 68.8% had an older husband. For divorcing couples with an age difference of 10 years or more, 87.1% had an older husband.
Age of divorcing parties at divorce, Australia
AGE-SPECIFIC DIVORCE RATES
Males aged 40-44 years experienced the highest divorce rate in 2005 (12.3 per 1,000 males aged 40-44). This was followed by males aged 35-39 (11.8 per 1,000 males aged 35-39) and 45-49 years (11.5 per 1,000 males aged 45-49). In 2004 the crude divorce rates for males aged 35-39, 40-44 and 45-49 years were 12.5, 12.2 and 11.5 per 1,000 respectively.
In 2005, females aged 35-39 years experienced the highest divorce rate (12.9 per 1,000 females aged 35-39). This was followed by the age groups 40-44 and 30-34 years with rates of 12.1 per 1,000 and 11.8 per 1,000 respectively. In 2004, the comparative divorce rates were 12.4 per 1,000 for females aged 30-34, 12.9 per 1,000 females aged 35-39 years, and 12.1 per 1,000 for females aged 40-44 years.
DURATION OF MARRIAGE FOR DIVORCING COUPLES
The median duration of marriage to both separation and divorce is increasing over time. The median duration of marriage to separation has risen from 8.7 years in 2004 to 8.8 years in 2005. In 1995, median duration of marriage to separation was 7.6 years.The median duration of marriage to divorce in 2005 was 12.6 years, compared with 12.3 years in 2004 and 11 years in 1995.
The difference between the median duration of marriage to separation and median duration of marriage to divorce is also increasing. In 1995 the difference was 3.4 years; in 2005 it was 3.8 years.
In 2005, 5.6% of divorces involved separation within the first year of marriage, 32.2% within the first five years and a further 22.1% of divorcing couples separated within five to nine years of marriage. In 2005, 45.6% of divorcing couples separated after 10 years of marriage.
Of the divorcing couples in 2005, 15.2% were married less than five years, 25% between five and nine years and 59.8% were married for 10 years or more. In 2005, 16.5% couples who divorced had been married for 25 years or more compared with 15.7% in 2004.
In 2005, the shortest median durations of marriage to separation and marriage to divorce occurred in divorces granted in New South Wales (7.9 years and 11.4 years respectively). The longest median durations occurred in divorces granted in Tasmania (10.5 years and 14.4 years).
Median duration to separation and divorce, Australia
APPLICANT FOR DIVORCE
As in previous years, more females (40.8%) than males (30.6%) lodged applications for divorce in 2005. Over time there has been an increase in the number of joint applications for divorce. In 2005, 28.5% of divorces were the result of joint applications, up from 28% in 2004, 18.1% in 1995 and 4.8% in 1985.
The median duration of marriage to divorce was shorter for joint applicants (11.7 years) and female applicants (11.9 years) than for male applicants (14.4 years).
There was a wide difference in joint applications as a proportion of all divorces, within state and territories. Divorces granted in Western Australia contained the highest proportion of joint applications (35.9% of applicants) while the lowest proportion was for divorces granted in South Australia (24.4% of applicants).
Type of applicant, Australia
DIVORCES INVOLVING CHILDREN
Over the last 20 years, the proportion of divorces involving children under 18 years has decreased from 60.6% in 1985 and 52.4% in 1994 to 49.8% in 2005. The number of children involved in divorce in 2005 (49,358) increased 0.2% from 49,260 in 2004 and is 5.5% (46,800) higher compared with 1985. The number of divorces involving children and the number of children involved in divorce were not available in 1995.
In 43.7% of divorces involving children in 2005, there were two children involved compared with 36.6% involving only one child, 14.9% involving three and 4.8% involving four or more children.
Of divorces involving children aged below 18 in 2005, the age of the youngest child was less than 5 years for 24.3% of divorces, 5 to 9 years for 36.4% and above 10 years for 39.3%.
In 2005, the state or territory with the highest proportion of divorces involving children was the Northern Territory (53.2%), followed by Queensland (52.2%) and the Australian Capital Territory (52.2%). The state or territory with the lowest proportion of divorces involving children was New South Wales with 46.9%.
Proportion of divorces involving children, Australia
COUNTRY OF BIRTH OF DIVORCING PARTIES
In 2005, 55.7% of divorces granted were to couples who were both born in Australia. Divorces to couples born in the same overseas country accounted for 12.9% of divorces granted in 2005. Divorces granted to couples who were born in different countries accounted for 27.7% of total divorces.
Of those couples who had chosen a partner from a different country, 43.4% (6,299) were overseas-born males divorcing Australian-born females, and 35.5% (5,150) were overseas-born females divorcing Australian-born males.
For divorces granted in 2005, the most common countries of birth other than Australia, for both husbands and wives were the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Viet Nam and China. These birth places accounted for 43.9% of overseas born husbands and 42.7% of overseas born wives who were granted a divorce in 2005. These data are relatively consistent with the most common places of birth of Australian residents. United Kingdom, New Zealand, Viet Nam and China were ranked first, second, fifth and sixth in terms of overseas born populations resident in Australia in 2001.
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