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NUMBER OF MARRIAGES REGISTERED
In 2007, there were 116,322 registered marriages, representing an increase of 2,100 (1.8%) from 2006. This is the highest number of marriages registered in a single year since 1990.
CRUDE MARRIAGE RATE
The crude marriage rate is calculated as the number of marriages registered during a calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June of the same year. This provides a measure of marriage in relation to the total population. Refer to the Glossary and Explanatory Note 25 for further definition.
Although the number of marriages is comparable with those of 20 years ago, the population has increased over this time. As a result, the crude marriage rate is lower than it was 20 years ago. In 2007, the crude marriage rate was 5.5 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population, compared with 7.1 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1988. Between 1988 and 2001, the crude marriage rate declined from 7.1 to 5.3, however, since 2001, there has been a slight upward trend.
AGE AT MARRIAGE
Median Age at Marriage
The median age of people married in 2007 was 31.6 years for males and 29.3 years for females.
Median age at marriage has been increasing gradually over the past 20 years for both males and females. Since 1988, the median age at marriage has increased by 3.8 years for males and 3.9 years for females. Since 2003, there has been little increase in median age of people getting married, increasing just 0.4 years for males and 0.2 years for females.
Median age of people getting married for the first time is slightly lower than total median age. In 2007, median age of males married for the first time was 29.6 years, and 27.6 years for females. By comparison, in 1988 the median age at first marriage was 26.1 years for males and 24.0 years for females.
Age-specific marriage rates
Age-specific marriage rates can provide a more detailed picture of age at which people marry. These rates give an indication of the proportion of all males or females in a particular age group who were married in a given year. Further information on calculation of age-specific marriage rates is provided in the Glossary and Explanatory Notes 26-27.
For both males and females, the highest age-specific marriage rates were in the 25-29 year age group, with 46.4 per 1,000 males in this age group and 52.0 per 1,000 females married in 2007. In 1988 the highest age-specific marriage rate for males was also in the 25-29 year age group (53.7 per 1,000 males), however for females, the highest rate was amongst the 20-24 year age group (70.6 per 1,000 females).
PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS
Previous marital status of people getting married has remained relatively stable over the past 20 years. In 2007, 77.7% of people married had not been married previously. For males, this applied to 76.8% of all marriages, with a further 1.7% of males having been widowed prior to getting married, and 21.5% having been divorced. For females, 78.5% had not been previously married, with a further 1.8% having been widowed prior to marriage, and 19.6% having been divorced.
Marriages in which neither party had previously been married made up 69.1% (80,347) of all marriages in 2007, while a further 17.2% (20,023) were first marriages for one partner. The remaining 13.7% of marriages (15,952) were remarriages for both partners.
In 2007, couples who lived together before marrying were more likely to marry in a civil ceremony than those who lived apart, with 70.0% of couples living together married in civil ceremony, compared with 39.4% of those who lived apart.
Civil marriages have outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999 when 51.3% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. In 2007, the trend toward civil ceremonies continued, with 62.9% of marriages performed by civil celebrants.
Of the 43,077 marriages performed by ministers of religion in 2007, the most common rites used were Catholic (33.0%) followed by Anglican (17.8%).
COUNTRY OF BIRTH
In 2007, 60.5% of marriages were of couples where both parties were born in Australia. A further 9.5% of marriages were of parties born in the same overseas country, and 29.9% marriages were of males and females born in different countries. In 1988, the comparative proportions were 62.3%, 7.6% and 30.1% respectively.
The median age of males and females born in Australia who married in 2007 was 31.2 years and 29.0 years respectively. Males born in Italy and Greece had the highest median age at marriage, 46.0 years and 43.3 years respectively. In contrast, males born in China (footnote 1) had the lowest median age at marriage (27.3 years). For females, those born in Italy had the highest median age at marriage (43.5 years) followed by those born in Greece (37.0 years). In contrast, females born in Lebanon had the lowest median age at marriage (24.9 years).
COUPLES LIVING TOGETHER PRIOR TO MARRIAGE
Of the 116,322 couples who registered a marriage in 2007, 76.8% indicated that they had lived together prior to registering their marriage. These couples tended to be slightly older than all people getting married. In 2007, the median age of males who lived with their wife before marriage was 32.0 years, compared 31.6 years for all males. Similarly, the median age of females who lived with their husbands before getting married was 29.7 years, compared with 29.3 years for all females.
MONTH OF MARRIAGE
In 2007, the most popular month for marriages was March, with 15,071 (13.0%) marriages celebrated in this month. November followed with 12,838 (11.0%) marriages. August was the least popular month for weddings, with only 5,842 (5.0%) of marriages taking place in that month.
STATE AND TERRITORY
Marriage statistics in this publication are presented by the state or territory where the marriage was registered, rather than the state of usual residence of the couple. For this reason, the ABS advises caution in the interpretation of data at a state or territory level as couples may chose to marry outside their state or territory of usual residence. Refer to Explanatory Notes 31-32 for more information.
In 2007, the greatest increase in the number of marriages registered was in Queensland (up by 765, 3.1%), followed by Western Australia (up 688, 5.9%). New South Wales registrations decreased (down 789, 0.2%), as did those for the Australian Capital Territory (down 28, 1.7%) and the Northern Territory (down 20, 2.5%).
New South Wales had the highest number of marriages registered in 2007 (37,982) followed by Victoria (26,967) and Queensland (25,808).
New South Wales had the highest proportion of marriages performed by ministers of religion (41.8%), and also had the lowest proportion of couples living together before getting married (69.7%). By contrast, Northern Territory had the lowest proportion of marriages performed by ministers of religion (23.5%), however, Tasmania had the highest proportion of couples living together before getting married (85.0%).
Further detail of state and territory data is available in the associated data cubes in the Downloads tab on the website.
The following table provides a summary of selected indicators of marriages registered in 2007 by the state and territory in which the marriage was registered.
1 China as a country of birth does not include those born in the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Taiwan. <back
15/10/2008 Note: Amendments were made to the Main Features page, specifically the graphical representation of Type of Celebrant data and the footnotes of the Selected marriage indicators, Australia table. No other data was affected.
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