3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2016  
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MARRIAGES


NUMBER OF MARRIAGES

The 118,401 marriages registered in 2016 represent an increase of 4,806 (4.2%) from the 113,595 marriages registered in Australia in 2015.


1.1 Total marriages, Australia, 1996–2016(a)(b)(c)


(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. See Explanatory Note 50 for further information.
(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 Note 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. See Explanatory Note 31 for further information.


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 40.

In 2016, the crude marriage rate was 4.9 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population, compared with 5.5 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2006 and 5.8 in 1996.

1.2 Crude marriage rates, Australia, 1996–2016



MEDIAN AGE AT MARRIAGE


The median age at marriage for males in 2016 was 31.9 years increasing by 0.2 years from 2015. The median age at marriage for females in 2016 was 29.9 years, an increase of 0.1 years since 2015.


1.3 Median age at marriage, Australia, 1996–2016


The median age at first marriage in 2016 was 30.3 years for males rising by 0.2 years since 2015. The female median age for first marriage has risen 0.2 years since 2015 to 28.7 years. Median age at first marriage has remained relatively stable for both males and females for more than a decade, increasing by 0.7 years from 29.6 years for males and 1.1 years from 27.6 for females since 2006.


1.4 Median age at first marriage, Australia, 1996–2016



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 41–42.

For both males and females in 2016, the highest age–specific marriage rates were for people between 25–29 years of age, with 39.0 marriages per 1,000 males and 46.2 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 27.5 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1996 to 12.3 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2016, while the rate for females declined from 45.9 to 21.4.

While the age-specific marriage rate for males between 20–29 years of age has decreased since 1996, 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 28.7 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1996 to 33.6 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2016. The age-specific marriage rate for males between 35–39 years of age has increased from 15.4 per 1,000 estimated resident population to 18.0 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 1996 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 22.2 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1996 to 30.0 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2016. The age-specific marriage rate for females between 35–39 years of age has increased from 11.4 per 1,000 estimated resident population to 14.0 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)
1996
2006
2012(c)
2013(c)
2014
2015(d)
2016

MALES

16–19
1.0
0.7
0.7
0.6
0.7
0.7
0.6
20–24
27.5
18.3
16.0
15.2
14.3
12.8
12.3
25–29
48.8
46.3
44.2
41.2
41.4
37.9
39.0
30–34
28.7
36.7
36.5
33.9
35.2
32.3
33.6
35–39
15.4
19.5
19.4
18.8
18.4
17.2
18.0
40–44
9.5
11.1
11.4
10.8
11.0
10.5
10.6
45–49
7.3
8.1
8.0
7.6
7.6
7.6
7.9
50 and over
3.5
3.6
3.6
3.4
3.4
3.3
3.5

FEMALES

16–19
5.5
3.7
3.3
3.1
2.8
2.4
2.2
20–24
45.9
32.2
27.1
25.4
25.0
21.1
21.4
25–29
46.5
51.7
51.3
48.3
48.9
44.0
46.2
30–34
22.2
31.3
32.0
30.3
30.7
28.6
30.0
35–39
11.4
14.9
15.0
14.2
14.2
13.8
14.0
40–44
7.5
8.4
8.8
8.4
8.4
8.3
8.6
45–49
5.8
6.2
6.6
6.2
6.2
6.0
6.3
50 and over
1.9
2.1
2.0
1.9
2.0
2.1
2.0

(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 41–43 for more information.
(c) 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 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. See Explanatory Note 31 for further information.


PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS

In 2016, 96,143 brides (81.2% of all brides) and 93,897 grooms (79.3% of all grooms) had not married previously. This is an increase of 2.9% for grooms and 3.1% for brides over the past decade.

1.6 Previously never married, Australia, 1996–2016




Of the 118,401 marriages registered in 2016, 72.3% were between a bride and groom never previously married. A further 16.0% were first marriages for one partner, while 11.8% were remarriages for both partners.

In 2016, 20.7% of grooms and 18.8% of brides had been married before. There were 22,898 grooms (19.3% of all grooms) and 20,523 brides (17.3% of all brides) who had been previously divorced.

1.7 Previously divorced, Australia, 1996–2016




The number of brides and grooms who were previously widowed has declined over the last two decades. In 2016, 1,743 brides (1.5% of all brides) and 1,610 grooms (1.4% of all grooms) who registered for marriage, were widowed.

1.8 Previously widowed, Australia, 1996–2016




MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS

The proportion of marriages performed by civil celebrants has increased over the past 20 years. In 2016, 76.4% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. Civil marriages have outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999. In 2016, the most common rites used among the 27,901 marriages performed by ministers of religion, were Catholic rites (30.8%) followed by Anglican (13.1%).


1.9 Type of celebrant, Australia, 1996–2016



COUNTRY OF BIRTH

The proportion of marriages between two Australian born people has been on a gradual decline. Over the last decade, the proportion of marriages between two people born in Australia has decreased from 61.0% in 2006 to 54.5% of all marriages in 2016. Conversely, the proportion of marriages between two people born in the same overseas country has increased over the same period, from 9.0% in 2006 to 13.9% in 2016. Marriages of people born in different countries accounted for 31.6% of all marriages in 2016 compared with 29.9% in 2006.


1.10 Median age, males and females, by selected countries of birth, 2016



In 2016, the median age of grooms and brides born in Australia was 31.8 years and 29.7 years respectively. Among the countries analysed, the youngest median age was for brides born in India (27.6 years) and grooms born in China (28.7 years). Brides born in Greece and in the UK had the oldest median age of 35.6 years, and the oldest median age for grooms was for those born in Greece, with 39.3 years.


COHABITATION PRIOR TO MARRIAGE

The majority of couples registering their marriage in 2016 cohabited prior to marriage (80.8%). This is a decrease from the proportion cohabiting before marriage in 2015 (81.0%).


1.11 Proportion of cohabitation prior to marriage, Australia, 1996 –2016



Couples who cohabited prior to marriage tended to be slightly older than those who had not lived together prior to marriage. In 2016, the median age of males who lived with their bride-to-be before marriage was 32.2 years compared with 30.3 years for those who did not. Similarly, females who cohabited prior to marriage had a median age of 30.3 compared with 28.4 years for those who did not.

As with all brides and grooms, median ages are increasing. In 2016, the median age of males who lived with their bride-to-be before marriage was 32.2 years, compared with 32.1 years for all males who married in 2015. The median age of females who lived with their future husbands before marriage was 30.3 years, compared with 30.1 years for all females who married in 2015.


MONTH OF MARRIAGE

Of the 118,401 marriages registered in 2016, the most popular month of celebration for marriages was October with 15,557 (13.1%) marriages. The month of June was the least popular month for marriages with only 5,941 (5.0%) 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, 2016




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 Note 30 for more information.


1.13 NUMBER OF MARRIAGES(a), States and territories(b), Selected years, 1996–2016

NSW
Vic.(c)
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

1996
35,716
26,074
20,913
8,011
10,294
2,654
787
1,654
106,103
2006
38,071
26,564
25,043
7,841
11,602
2,664
799
1,638
114,222
2012(b)
40,979
29,901
26,276
7,697
12,967
2,916
903
1,604
123,243
2013(b)
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
2016
39,262
31,119
22,878
8,347
12,317
2,508
789
1,175
118,401

(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 Note 30 for further information.
(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 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. See Explanatory Note 31 for further information.


In 2016, most jurisdictions reported a moderate decline in marriage registrations compared to 2015. The largest of these was NSW which decreased by 746 (-1.9%).

The number of marriage registrations for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania increased for the 2016 reference period. However, this is predominantly due to administrative factors. Victoria in particular had a large number of marriage registrations that were celebrated in 2015, but were not registered until 2016.

New South Wales and Victoria recorded the highest crude marriage rates in 2016 (5.1 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population), whilst the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest crude marriage rate, with 3.0 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population.

Marriages performed by ministers of religion as a proportion of all marriages in 2016 were highest in New South Wales (27.7%) and lowest in the Northern Territory (13.8%).

In 2016, the proportion of marriages where couples lived together prior to marriage was lowest in New South Wales (76.6%) and highest in Tasmania (87.8%).


Table 1.14 Selected marriage indicators(a), States and territories of registration(b), 2016

NSW
Vic.(f)
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

Marriages registered
no.
39,262
31,119
22,878
8,347
12,317
2,508
789
1,175
118,401
Crude marriage rate(c)
rate
5.1
5.1
4.7
4.9
4.7
4.8
3.2
3.0
4.9
Median age at marriage
Males
years
31.6
31.7
32.5
31.9
32.2
32.7
34.0
31.9
31.9
Females
years
29.7
29.9
30.3
29.9
30.2
30.8
31.3
29.9
29.9
Previous marital status
First marriage both partners
no.
28,728
23,141
15,773
5,997
8,833
1,709
519
860
85,559
First marriage one partner
no.
6,142
4,763
3,943
1,286
2,002
407
174
202
18,913
Remarriage both partners
no.
4,389
3,214
3,169
1,072
1,476
393
102
115
13,930
Marriage celebrant
Ministers of religion(d)
Number of marriages
no.
10,864
7,404
4,367
2,048
2,359
479
109
264
27,901
Proportion or marriages
%
27.7
23.8
19.1
24.5
19.2
19.1
13.8
22.5
23.6
Civil Celebrants
Number of marriages
no.
28,391
23,683
18,496
6,301
9,954
2,023
687
909
90,444
Proportion of marriages
%
72.3
76.1
80.8
75.5
80.8
80.7
87.1
77.4
76.4
Relative birthplace of couple(e)
Both born in Australia
no.
20,528
16,408
13,607
5,519
5,558
1,928
370
625
64,552
Both born in the same overseas country
no.
6,535
5,167
2,105
660
1,654
70
91
160
16,439
Born in different countries
no.
12,188
9,538
7,160
2,166
5,084
504
338
393
37,374
Cohabitation prior to marriage
Number of marriages
no.
30,058
24,762
19,672
6,991
10,383
2,201
641
978
95,689
Proportion of marriages
%
76.6
79.6
86.0
83.8
84.3
87.8
81.2
83.2
80.8

(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 Note 30 for further information.
(c) Marriages per 1,000 of estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. See Explanatory Note 40 for further information.
(d) 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). See Explanatory Notes 20-21 for further information.
(e) Excludes marriages where country of birth of one or both partners is not stated.
(f) 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. See Explanatory Note 31 for further information.