3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2015  
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MARRIAGES


NUMBER OF MARRIAGES

The 113,595 marriages registered in 2015 represent a decrease of 7,602 (-6.3%) from the 121,197 marriages registered in Australia in 2014.


1.1 Total marriages, Australia, 1995–2015(a)(b)(c)
Line Graph: Total marriages, Australia, 1995–2015(a)(b)
(a) Care should be taken in interpreting 2004 data for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia as they are subject to sampling error.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting Victorian data from 2012 to 2013 as the category values are 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.


CRUDE MARRIAGE RATE

The crude marriage rate represents the number of marriages registered during a calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June of the same year. For more information on the calculation of the crude marriage rate refer to Glossary and Explanatory Notes 36–42.


1.2 Crude marriage rates, Australia, 1995–2015
Line Graph: Crude marriage rates, Australia, 1995–2015

In 2015, the crude marriage rate was 4.8 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population, compared with 5.4 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2005 and 6.1 in 1995.


MEDIAN AGE AT MARRIAGE


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.


1.3 Median age at marriage, Australia, 1995–2015
Line Graph: Median age at marriage, Australia, Males & Females 1995–2015

The median age at first marriage in 2015 was 30.1 years for males and 28.5 years for females. Median age at first marriage for males and females has increased by 0.1 years since 2014. Median age at first marriage has remained relatively stable for both males and females for more than a decade, increasing by 0.6 years from 29.5 years for males and 0.9 years from 27.6 for females since 2005.


1.4 Median age at first marriage, Australia, 1995–2015
Line Graph: Median age at first marriage, Males & Females, Australia, 1995–2015


AGE-SPECIFIC MARRIAGE RATES


Age-specific marriage rates provide a more detailed picture of the age at which people marry. These rates give an indication of the proportion of all males or females in a particular age group who marry in a given year. Further information on calculating age-specific marriage rates is provided in the Glossary and Explanatory Notes 38–42.

For both males and females in 2015, the highest age–specific marriage rates were for people between 25–29 years of age, with 37.9 marriages per 1,000 males and 44.0 marriages per 1,000 females.

Age-specific marriage rates for males and females between 20–24 years of age have declined over the past 20 years. The rate for males declined from 31.7 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1995 to 12.8 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2015, while the rate for females declined from 51.2 to 21.1.

While the age-specific marriage rate for males between 20–29 years of age has decreased since 1995, it has increased slightly for males between 30–39 years of age. The age-specific marriage rate for males between 30–34 years of age has increased from 28.6 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1995 to 32.3 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2015. The age-specific marriage rate for males between 35–39 years of age has increased from 15.0 per 1,000 estimated resident population to 17.2 per 1,000 estimated resident population over the same period.

Similar changes have occurred in age-specific marriage rates for females. The age-specific marriage rate for females between 20–29 years of age has decreased since 1995 and it has increased slightly for females between 30–39 years of age. For females between 30–34 years of age the age-specific marriage rates have increased from 21.4 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1995 to 28.6 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2015. The age-specific marriage rate for females between 35–39 years of age has increased from 11.3 per 1,000 estimated resident population to 13.8 per 1,000 estimated resident population over the same period.


Table 1.5 Age specific marriage rates(a)(b), Selected years, Australia

Age group (years)
1995
2005
2011
2012(c)
2013(c)
2014
2015(d)

MALES

16–19
1.2
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.7
0.7
20–24
31.7
18.4
15.9
16.0
15.2
14.3
12.8
25–29
51.8
45.5
43.2
44.2
41.2
41.4
37.9
30–34
28.6
35.2
35.8
36.5
33.9
35.2
32.3
35–39
15.0
18.4
19.3
19.4
18.8
18.4
17.2
40–44
9.3
10.6
11.4
11.4
10.8
11.0
10.5
45–49
7.3
7.7
8.1
8.0
7.6
7.6
7.6
50 and over
3.4
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.4
3.4
3.3

FEMALES

16–19
6.1
4.0
3.5
3.3
3.1
2.8
2.4
20–24
51.2
32.1
27.6
27.1
25.4
25.0
21.1
25–29
47.9
50.3
50.5
51.3
48.3
48.9
44.0
30–34
21.4
29.5
31.0
32.0
30.3
30.7
28.6
35–39
11.3
14.2
14.8
15.0
14.2
14.2
13.8
40–44
7.3
7.9
8.7
8.8
8.4
8.4
8.3
45–49
5.8
6.0
6.3
6.6
6.2
6.2
6.0
50 and over
1.8
2.0
2.0
2.0
1.9
2.0
2.1

(a) See Glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) Marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population of males or females, at 30 June for each reference year respectively. Only those people aged 16 years and over, and therefore eligible to marry according to the Marriages Act 1961, are included. See Explanatory Notes 3 and 36–42 for more information.
(c) Care should be taken in interpreting Victorian data for 2012 and 2013 as the category values are calculated from a weighted sample. Please see Explanatory Notes 27–29 for further information.
(d) 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.


PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS

In 2015, 92,151 brides (81.1% of all brides) and 89,826 grooms (79.1% of all grooms) had not married previously. This is an increase of 3.0% for grooms and 3.4% for brides over the past decade.

1.6 Previously never married, Australia, 1995–2015

Line graph: Previously never married, Australia, Males & Females,1995–2015


Of the 113,595 marriages registered in 2015, 71.9% were between a bride and groom never previously married. A further 16.3% were first marriages for one partner, while 11.7% were remarriages for both partners.

In 2015, 20.9% of grooms and 18.9% of brides had been married before. There were 22,246 grooms (19.6% of all grooms) and 19,818 brides (17.4% of all brides) who had been previously divorced.


1.7 Previously divorced, Australia, 1995–2015
ine graph: Previously divorced, Australia, Males & Females,1995–2015


In 2015, 1,627 brides (1.4% of all brides) and 1,531 grooms (1.3% of all grooms) who registered for marriage, were widowed. There has been a steady decline in the proportion of brides and grooms who were previously widowed.


1.8 Previously widowed, Australia, 1995–2015

Line Graph: Previously widowed, Males & Females, Australia, 1995–2015



MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS

The proportion of marriages performed by civil celebrants has increased over the past 20 years. In 2015, 74.9% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. Civil marriages have outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999. In 2015, the most common rites used among the 28,419 marriages performed by ministers of religion, were Catholic rites (31.3%) followed by Anglican (14.2%).


1.9 Type of celebrant, Australia, 1995–2015(a)

Line Graph: Type of celebrant, Australia, 1995–2015(a)
(a) Information on type of celebrant was not available for 1995.


In 2015, couples who cohabited before marrying were more likely to marry in a civil ceremony than those who lived apart, with 81.0% of couples cohabiting married in a civil ceremony, compared with 46.6% of those who lived apart.


COUNTRY OF BIRTH

The proportion of marriages between two Australian born people has been gradually decreasing since 1993. Over the last decade, the proportion of marriages between two people born in Australia has decreased from 61.4% in 2005 to 54.2% of all marriages in 2015. Conversely, the proportion of marriages between two people born in the same overseas country has increased over the same period, from 8.7% in 2005 to 13.9% in 2015. Marriages of people born in different countries accounted for 31.9% of all marriages in 2015 compared with 29.9% in 2005.



1.10 Median age, males and females, by selected countries of birth, 1995-2015


Dot Graph: Median age, males and females, by selected countries of birth, 1995-2015

In 2015, the median age of grooms and brides born in Australia was 31.6 years and 29.5 years respectively. Among the countries analysed, the youngest median age was for brides born in India (27.9 years) and grooms born in China (28.4 years). Brides (34.8 years) and grooms (38.6 years) born in the UK had the oldest median ages.


COHABITATION PRIOR TO MARRIAGE

The majority of couples registering their marriage in 2015 cohabited prior to marriage (81.0%). This is an increase from the proportion cohabiting before marriage in 2014 (79.4%) and is the highest proportion to date.


1.11 Proportion of cohabitation prior to marriage, Australia, 2005–2015

Line graph: Proportion of cohabitation prior to marriage, Australia, 1995-2015

Couples who cohabited prior to marriage tended to be slightly older than those who had not lived together prior to marriage. In 2015, the median age of males who lived with their wife before marriage was 31.6 years, compared with 31.8 years for all males who married in 2014. Similarly, the median age of females who lived with their husbands before marriage was 29.5 years, compared with 29.9 years for all females who married in 2014.


MONTH OF MARRIAGE

Of the 113,595 marriages registered in 2015, the most popular month of celebration for marriages was October with 13,614 (12.0%) marriages. The month of July was the least popular month for marriages with only 5,563 (4.9%) marriages taking place in that month. The number of weekends in a month influences the number of weddings in that month, so this should be taken into consideration when interpreting the data.


1.12 Months of marriage, Australia, 2015

Column Graph: Months of marriage, Australia, 2015



STATE AND TERRITORY DATA

Marriage statistics in this publication are presented by the state or territory where the marriage was registered, rather than the state or territory 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 choose to marry outside their state or territory of usual residence. Refer to Explanatory Notes 27–29 for more information.


1.13 NUMBER OF MARRIAGES(a), States and territories(b), Selected years, 1995–2015

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

1995
37,828
26,607
20,610
8,547
10,404
2,840
797
1,753
109,386
2005
35,926
25,265
24,305
7,627
11,125
2,643
774
1,654
109,326
2011
41,717
28,947
25,562
8,117
12,663
2,326
909
1,511
121,754
2012
40,979
29,901
26,276
7,697
12,967
2,916
903
1,604
123,243
2013
40,372
27,585
25,014
8,352
12,887
2,402
893
1,458
118,959
2014
41,277
28,872
24,918
7,973
13,287
2,526
820
1,523
121,197
2015(c)
40,008
25,620
23,504
7,122
12,766
2,356
827
1,385
113,595

(a) Care should be taken in interpreting this table as marriage data are by state or territory of registration rather than usual residence. See Explanatory Notes 27–28 for further information.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting Victorian data for 2012 and 2013 as the category values are calculated from a weighted sample. Please see Explanatory Note 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.


In 2015, most jurisdictions reported decreases in the number of marriages from 2014. The largest of these was Vic which decreased by 3,252 (-11.3%) following a 1,287 (4.7%) increase from 2013. Qld (down by 1,414 or -5.7%) and NSW (down by 1,269 or -3.1%) experienced other relatively large decreases from 2014.

New South Wales recorded the highest crude marriage rate in 2015 (5.3 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population), whilst the Northern Territory had the lowest crude marriage rate, with 3.4 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population.

Marriages performed by ministers of religion as a proportion of all marriages in 2015 were highest in New South Wales (29.0%) and lowest in the Northern Territory (17.2%).

In 2015, the proportion of marriages where couples lived together prior to marriage was lowest in New South Wales (76.3%) and highest in Queensland (87.7%).


Table 1.14 Selected marriage indicators(a), States and territories of registration(b), 2015(c)

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

Marriages registered
no.
40,008
25,620
23,504
7,122
12,766
2,356
827
1,385
113,595
Crude marriage rate(d)
rate
5.3
4.3
4.9
4.2
4.9
4.6
3.4
3.5
4.8
Median age at marriage
Males
years
31.5
31.6
32.2
31.8
32.1
32.6
34.2
31.3
31.8
Females
years
29.6
29.8
30.0
29.8
29.9
30.5
31.0
29.4
29.8
Previous marital status
First marriage both partners
no.
29,256
18,775
16,346
5,047
9,117
1,611
544
1,029
81,715
First marriage one partner
no.
6,427
4,115
3,995
1,122
2,098
412
165
207
18,539
Remarriage both partners
no.
4,320
2,731
3,167
956
1,555
345
113
153
13,342
Marriage celebrant
Ministers of religion(e)
Number of marriages
no.
11,607
6,514
4,797
1,798
2,700
479
142
375
28,419
Proportion or marriages
%
29.0
25.4
20.4
25.2
21.1
20.3
17.2
27.1
25.0
Civil Celebrants
Number of marriages
no.
28,398
19,059
18,708
5,327
10,060
1,878
692
1,002
85,115
Proportion of marriages
%
71.0
74.4
79.6
74.8
78.8
79.7
83.7
72.3
74.9
Relative birthplace of couple(f)
Both born in Australia
no.
21,097
13,115
13,999
4,517
5,830
1,836
408
766
61,565
Both born in the same overseas country
no.
6,518
4,490
2,124
660
1,679
59
66
168
15,762
Born in different countries
no.
12,394
8,010
7,380
1,949
5,238
461
351
456
36,240
Cohabitation prior to marriage
Number of marriages
no.
30,521
20,255
20,604
5,885
10,810
2,064
700
1,147
91,985
Proportion of marriages
%
76.3
79.1
87.7
82.6
84.7
87.6
84.6
82.8
81.0

(a) See Glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting this table as marriage data are by state or territory of registration rather than usual residence. See Explanatory Notes 27–28 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 estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. Care should be taken in interpreting this table as marriage data are by state of registration rather than usual residence. See Explanatory Notes 36–42 for further information.
(e) 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.