3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2015  
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MARRIAGES AND DIVORCES, AUSTRALIA

This publication provides data and information about marriages registered and divorces granted in Australia in 2015 on a state or territory of registration basis rather than a state or territory of usual residence. The publication presents statistics on the number of marriages registered, crude marriage rates, median age at marriage, age-specific marriage rates, previous marital status, use of marriage celebrants, country of birth of those marrying, and living arrangements for couples prior to marriage. Divorce statistics in this publication provide state, territory and national level data for the number of divorces granted, crude divorce rates, ages at marriage, separation and divorce, age-specific divorce rates, divorces involving children, duration of marriage prior to divorce, and applicants for divorce.

2015 KEY POINTS

There were 113,595 marriages registered and 48,517 divorces granted in Australia in 2015. Over the past five years there has been a gradual increase in the median age at separation and divorce. This aligns with a gradual increase in the median age at first marriage.


MARRIAGES

    The number of marriages decreased in 2015 by 7,602 (-6.3%) and the crude marriage rate decreased from 5.2 in 2014 to 4.8 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2015.

    Civil celebrants have overseen the majority of marriages since 1999 and the proportion of marriage ceremonies overseen by a civil celebrant increased again to 74.9 per cent of all marriages in 2015.

    In 2015, the majority of brides (81.1%) and grooms (79.1%) had not been married before.

    The median age at marriage for males in 2015 was 31.8 years an increase from 31.5 in 2013 and 2014. The median age at marriage for females in 2015 was 29.8 years, an increase of 0.2 years since 2014.




DIVORCES

    The number of divorces increased by 2,019 (4.3%) in 2015 and the crude divorce rate did not change from 2014 at 2.0 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2015.

    The median duration from marriage to divorce in 2015 was 12.1 years, a slight increase from 12.0 years reported in 2014.

    The median age at divorce for males was 45.3 years of age and the median ages of females was 42.7 years of age for those divorces granted in 2015.

    The largest proportion of divorce applications were from joint applicants, accounting for 43.3% of divorces. Female applicants accounted for 31.6% of divorce applications while male applicants accounted for 25.1%.




SUMMARY TABLES

MARRIAGES

In 2015, there were 113,595 marriages registered in Australia, a decrease of 7,602 (-6.3%) from the 121,197 marriages registered in 2014. The crude marriage rate decreased from 5.2 to 4.8 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population.

The median age of males and females at marriage was 31.8 and 29.8 years respectively in 2015. The median age at marriage for males has increased by 0.3 years since 2014 and the median age at marriage for females has increased by 0.2 years since over the same period.

The proportion of marriage ceremonies performed by civil celebrants has continued to increase in 2015, with civil celebrants performing 74.9% of all registered marriage ceremonies, an increase from 74.1% in 2014.

Couples who lived together prior to marriage accounted for 81.0% of all marriages registered in 2015, an increase from the 79.4% recorded in 2014.

Marriages where both partners were marrying for the first time accounted for 71.9% of all marriage in 2015. The number of marriages where one partner was marrying for the first time increased by 0.3 percentage points to 16.3% in 2015, while the proportion of remarriages for both partners increased from 11.5% in 2014 to 11.7% in 2015.

In 2015, 54.2% of couples married were both born in Australia, 31.9% were born in different countries, and 13.9% were born in the same overseas country.


1.1 SELECTED MARRIAGE INDICATORS(a), Australia, Selected years, 1995–2015

1995
2005
2011
2012(b)
2013(b)
2014
2015(c)

Marriages registered
no.
109,386
109,326
121,754
123,243
118,959
121,197
113,595
Crude marriage rate(d)
rate
6.1
5.4
5.4
5.4
5.1
5.2
4.8
Previous marital status
First marriage both partners
no.
73,846
74,302
86,863
88,540
86,076
87,811
81,715
First marriage one partner
no.
19,898
19,574
20,415
20,089
19,339
19,433
18,539
Remarriage both partners
no.
15,642
15,446
14,476
14,604
13,549
13,952
13,342
Marriage celebrant
Ministers of religion(e)
Number
no.
na
44,220
36,375
34,612
32,601
31,278
28,419
Proportion
%
na
40.4
29.9
28.1
27.4
25.8
25.0
Civil Celebrants(e)
Number
no.
na
65,105
85,311
88,599
86,301
89,861
85,115
Proportion
%
na
59.6
70.1
71.9
72.5
74.1
74.9
Relative birthplace of couple(f)
Both born in Australia
no.
na
67,085
67,882
69,046
65,605
66,074
61,565
Both born in the same overseas country
no.
na
9,546
15,319
15,439
15,728
16,188
15,762
Born in different countries
no.
na
32,640
38,488
38,686
37,553
38,408
36,240
Cohabitation prior to marriage
Number
no.
na
83,001
95,226
95,670
91,120
96,223
91,985
Proportion of all marriages
%
na
75.9
78.2
77.6
76.6
79.4
81.0

na not available
(a) See Glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting Victorian data from 2012 and 2013 as the category values were calculated from a weighted sample. Please see Explanatory Notes 27–29 for further information.
(c) A larger than usual number of 2015 marriage registrations have been delayed until 2016. This has contributed to a low count of marriages and the ABS recommends caution when comparing the 2015 count and rate with other years.
(d) Marriages per 1,000 of estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. See Glossary and Explanatory Notes 36–42 for further information.
(e) Excludes marriages where the rite is not stated or not defined. Registers of ministers of religion are maintained by states and territories under the authority of the Marriage Act 1961. Data on religious marriage rites are classified to the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 2011 (cat. no. 1266.0).
(f) Excludes marriages where country of birth of one or both partners is not stated.


DIVORCES

In 2015, there were 48,517 divorces granted in Australia, an increase of 2,019 (4.3%) from the 46,498 divorces granted in 2014.

The crude divorce rate for the number of divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population was 2.0 in 2015 (unchanged from 2014).

The median age of males and females at divorce was 45.3 and 42.7 years respectively in 2015. Median age at divorce in 2015 has increased by 0.1 years for males and 0.2 years for females from 2014.

In 2015, divorces involving children represented 47.5% of all divorces granted compared with 47.0% in 2014. The number of children involved in divorces totalled 42,303 in 2015, an increase from the 40,152 reported in 2014. The average number of children per divorce involving children in 2015 was 1.8.

The median duration from marriage to divorce in 2015 was 12.1 years, a slight increase from that reported in 2014. This is the first increase in a decade. This number had been decreasing from a peak of 12.6 years in 2005.

Over the last 20 years, the proportion of divorces granted as result of joint applications for divorce has been increasing. This has continued in 2015 to the point where joint applicants are the highest applicant type for the sixth year in a row, with 21,002 divorces granted from joint applications, compared with 15,337 from female applicants and 12,178 from male applicants.


1.2 SELECTED DIVORCE INDICATORS, Australia, Selected years, 1995-2015

1995
2005
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Divorces grantedno.
49,712
52,399
48,935
49,917
47,638
46,498
48,517
Crude divorce rate(a)rate
2.8
2.6
2.2
2.2
2.1
2.0
2.0
Median length of marriage
To separationyears
7.6
8.8
8.7
8.6
8.5
8.4
8.5
To divorceyears
11.0
12.6
12.2
12.2
12.1
12.0
12.1
Divorces involving children(b)
Divorcesno.
na
26,087
23,619
24,144
22,590
21,840
23,063
Proportion of all divorces%
na
49.8
48.3
48.4
47.4
47.0
47.5
Total number of childrenno.
na
49,358
43,867
44,834
41,747
40,152
42,303
Average number of children per divorce(c)no.
na
1.9
1.9
1.9
1.8
1.8
1.8
Relative birthplace of people granted divorce(d)
Both born in Australiano.
na
29,171
24,890
25,301
24,385
23,565
24,826
Both born in same overseas countryno.
na
6,761
8,455
8,623
8,180
8,091
8,233
Born in different countriesno.
na
14,509
13,194
13,517
12,904
12,746
13,430
Type of applicant(e)
Maleno.
16,834
16,020
12,924
12,958
12,329
12,090
12,178
Femaleno.
23,904
21,398
17,439
17,140
15,684
15,127
15,337
Jointno.
8,974
14,955
18,572
19,819
19,625
19,281
21,002

na not available
(a) Number of divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. See Glossary and Explanatory Notes 36-42 for more information.
(b) Unmarried children of the marriage who were aged under 18 years at the time of application for divorce. See Glossary for more information.
(c) Excludes divorces not involving children.
(d) Excludes divorces where country of birth of one party or both parties is not stated.
(e) Excludes divorces where type of applicant is not stated.