3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2016  
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DIVORCES


NUMBER OF DIVORCES

In 2016, there were 46,604 divorces granted in Australia, a decrease of 1,913 (3.9%) from the 48,517 divorces granted in 2015.


2.1 Total divorces granted, Australia, 1996–2016



CRUDE DIVORCE RATE

The crude divorce rate is calculated as the number of divorces granted during a calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June of the same year. Refer to the Glossary and Explanatory Notes 35 and 40 for further information.

In 2016, the crude divorce rate in Australia was 1.9 divorces granted per 1,000 estimated resident population, decreasing slightly from 2015 (2.0).


2.2 Crude divorce rate, Australia, 1996–2016



AGE AT MARRIAGE, SEPARATION AND DIVORCE

Overall, males granted a divorce in 2016 tended to be older than females at marriage, separation and divorce.

More than half (56.8%) of the females granted a divorce in 2016 were under 45 years of age at divorce compared with 48.0% of males.


2.3 Age at divorce, Australia, 2016



The highest percentage of divorces granted for males were found in the 45-49 age group, with 9.2%. Divorce for females occurred predominantly for 40-44 year olds, with 9.1% of all divorces granted to this age group.

The median age at marriage for males divorcing in 2016 was 29.0 years, compared with 26.7 years for females. Median age at separation for males granted a divorce in 2016 was 41.8 years, whereas the median age for females was 39.1 years. In 2016, the median age of males at divorce was 45.5 years and 42.9 years for females.


2.4 Median age at divorce, Australia, 1996–2016


The median age at divorce has been increasing for both males and females over the past 20 years. This trend continued in 2016, with the median age at divorce increasing 0.2 years from 2015 for both males and females. The median age at divorce in 2016 was 45.5 years for males and 42.9 years for females.


AGE-SPECIFIC DIVORCE RATES

Age-specific divorce rates can provide a more detailed picture of the ages at which people are granted a divorce. These rates give an indication of the proportion of all males or females in a particular age group granted a divorce per 1,000 estimated resident population of the same age group. More information regarding the calculation of age-specific divorce rates is provided in the Glossary and Explanatory Notes 41-43.

In 2016, the divorce rate either decreased or remained stable compared to 2015 for both males and females in every age group. The age-specific divorce rates were highest for males in the 45-49 years age group at 9.2 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population, and were also high for males in the 40-44 years age group (8.9 per 1,000 estimated resident population). The age-specific divorce rate was highest for females in the 40-44 years age group (9.1 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population), with both the 35-39 years and 45-49 years age groups also recording higher divorce rates at 8.6 and 8.9 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population respectively.

2.5 Age-specific divorce rates(a), Australia, Selected years, 1996–2016
Age group (years)
1996
2006
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016

MALES
24 and under
0.6
0.3
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.2
0.2
25–29
8.0
4.2
3.9
3.7
3.4
3.5
3.2
30–34
13.0
9.1
7.4
6.9
6.5
6.7
6.4
35–39
13.7
11.2
9.4
8.7
8.0
8.4
8.0
40–44
12.9
11.6
10.4
9.6
9.2
9.5
8.9
45–49
11.6
11.2
10.0
9.5
9.3
9.7
9.2
50–54
9.2
9.5
8.9
8.3
8.2
8.5
8.3
55–59
6.1
7.0
6.6
6.5
6.4
6.6
6.4
60–64
3.9
4.7
4.7
4.5
4.5
4.6
4.3
65 and over
1.5
1.6
1.7
1.7
1.7
1.8
1.8

FEMALES
24 and under
1.9
0.9
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.7
0.6
25–29
12.2
7.0
6.1
5.7
5.2
5.3
4.8
30–34
14.3
11.1
8.8
8.3
7.9
8.2
7.7
35–39
13.4
11.9
10.3
9.3
8.8
9.0
8.6
40–44
12.2
11.8
10.7
9.9
9.7
9.8
9.1
45–49
9.9
10.3
9.5
9.3
9.0
9.4
8.9
50–54
7.0
7.5
7.5
7.1
6.9
7.2
7.0
55–59
3.9
5.0
4.9
4.7
4.6
4.8
4.8
60–64
2.4
2.9
2.9
2.8
2.8
3.0
2.8
65 and over
0.6
0.6
0.7
0.7
0.7
0.8
0.8

(a) Number of divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. See Glossary and Explanatory Notes 38 and 41-43 for further information.


DIVORCES INVOLVING CHILDREN

In 2016, there were 21,864 divorces involving children under 18 years of age. This represents 46.9% of all divorces granted.


2.6 Proportion of divorces involving children, Australia, 1996–2016



The number of children affected by divorce has decreased from 42,303 in 2015 to 40,202 in 2016. The average number of children for divorces involving children remains at 1.8 children per divorce.


LENGTH OF MARRIAGE OF DIVORCING COUPLES

The median duration of marriage to divorce increased from 11.0 years in 1996 to a peak of 12.5 years in 2006. Since 2006, the median duration of marriage to divorce has decreased to 12.0 years in 2016.

Similarly, the median duration of marriage to separation increased from 7.6 years in 1996 to a peak of 8.9 years in 2006. In 2016, the median duration of marriage to separation was 8.4 years.

2.7 Median duration to separation and divorce, Australia, 1996–2016



APPLICANT FOR DIVORCE

Over the last 20 years, the proportion of joint applications for divorce has been increasing. In 2010, the number of joint applications outnumbered male applications and female applications for the first time. In 2016, the proportion of joint applications decreased but remains the highest applicant type at 42.7% of all applications.


2.8 Type of divorce applicant, Australia, 1996-2016



STATE AND TERRITORY DATA

Divorce statistics in this publication are presented by the state or territory where the court granting divorce was located, rather than the state or territory of usual residence of the applicants. The ABS advises caution in the interpretation of data at a state or territory level as applicants for divorce may apply through their nearest court rather than a court in their state or territory of usual residence. For further information refer to Explanatory Notes 33-38.

In 2016, the number of divorces granted in all states and territory decreased, in all but Western Australia compared with 2015. Western Australia granted 518 (10.3%) more divorces than in 2015.

2.9 Number of divorces, States and territories(a), Selected years, 1996-2016

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

1996
16,663
11,229
8,359
4,081
4,963
1,519
413
931
48,312
2006
14,482
12,110
12,175
3,913
5,544
1,233
426
1,491
51,375
2011
13,917
12,271
11,393
3,506
5,020
1,096
351
1,381
48,935
2012
14,607
12,483
11,317
3,511
5,073
1,161
391
1,374
49,917
2013
13,820
11,663
10,861
3,343
5,268
972
379
1,332
47,638
2014
13,706
11,711
10,699
3,211
4,518
1,009
366
1,278
46,498
2015
14,310
12,155
10,942
3,297
4,992
1,060
397
1,364
48,517
2016
13,361
11,179
10,890
3,127
5,510
1,019
308
1,210
46,604

(a) Divorces are presented by the state or territory where the court granting divorce was located, rather than the state or territory of usual residence of the applicants. The ABS advises caution in the interpretation and comparison of data at a state or territory level. See Explanatory Notes 33-38 for more information.

Queensland continues to have the highest crude divorce rate of 2.2 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population, while the Northern Territory had the lowest divorce rate at 1.3 per 1, 000 estimated resident population.

Queensland and Western Australia reported the highest proportion of all divorces involving children, at 49.4% and 48.3% respectively. New South Wales (44.8%) and Tasmania (45.6%) reported the lowest proportion of divorces involving children.

Tasmania had the highest median ages at divorce for males and females in 2016. The median age at divorce for males was 48.1 years in Tasmania and for females, the median age at divorce was 45.6 years.

Median length of marriage prior to divorce was highest in Tasmania (14.1 years) followed by Australian Capital Territory (13.5 years), while the Northern Territory (at 11.0 years) had the shortest median length of marriage to divorce.

In 2016, all states and territories except South Australia and Tasmania recorded more joint applications for divorce than male applications or female applications. For both South Australia and Tasmania, the greater number of applications for divorce belonged to the females.


2.10 Selected divorce indicators, States and territories(a), 2016

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

Divorces granted no.
13,361
11,179
10,890
3,127
5,510
1,019
308
1,210
46,604
Crude divorce rate(d)
1.7
1.8
2.2
1.8
2.1
2.0
1.3
np
1.9
Divorces involving children(e)
5,983
5,149
5,384
1,502
2,663
465
145
573
21,864
Proportion of all divorces %
44.8
46.1
49.4
48.0
48.3
45.6
47.1
47.4
46.9
Average number of children per divorce(f) no.
1.8
1.8
1.9
1.8
1.8
1.9
1.8
1.9
1.8
Median age at divorce
Malesyears
44.9
45.2
45.7
46.1
46.0
48.1
46.4
46.0
45.5
Femalesyears
42.1
42.7
43.4
43.6
43.1
45.6
41.7
43.8
42.9
Median length of marriage
To separationyears
7.6
8.2
8.9
8.7
8.7
10.3
7.4
9.7
8.4
To divorceyears
11.2
11.8
12.4
12.3
12.3
14.1
11.0
13.5
12.0
Applicant(g)
Male no.
3,344
3,008
2,574
838
1,344
272
90
293
11,763
Female no.
4,188
3,926
3,384
1,167
1,494
410
78
315
14,962
Joint no.
5,829
4,245
4,932
1,122
2,672
337
140
602
19,879

(a) Divorces are presented by the state or territory where the court granting divorce was located, rather than the state or territory of usual residence of the applicants. The ABS advises caution in the interpretation and comparison of data at a state or territory level. See Explanatory Notes 33-38 for more information.
(b) Rates for the Australian Capital Territory are not published due to the high proportion of applicants from south-eastern New South Wales and Victoria who apply for divorce through Australian Capital Territory courts. See Explanatory Note 35 for more information.
(c) The total may be greater than the sum of its components as it includes divorces granted where the state/territory of registration was not available.
(d) Number of divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. See Glossary and Explanatory Notes 40 and 44-45 for further information.
(e) Unmarried children of the marriage who were aged under 18 years at the time of application for divorce. See Glossary for more information.
(f) Excludes divorces not involving children.
(g) Excludes divorces where type of applicant is not stated.