3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2017  
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MARRIAGES



NUMBER OF MARRIAGES


There were 112,954 marriages registered in Australia in 2017, a 4.7% (5,447) decrease on marriages registered in 2016. Over three-quarters (79.1%) of these marriages were registered in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. New South Wales recorded the largest decrease in registered marriages (2,430) between 2016 and 2017. It should be noted that changes to the Marriage Act 1961 on 9 December 2017 and work required to adjust registration systems may have contributed to processing delays in some jurisdictions towards the end of the registration year (see Explanatory Notes 4, 23 & 33 for further details).

Graph Image for Total marriages, Australia, 1997-2017(a)

Footnote(s): (a) There are a range of administrative factors that can affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See Explanatory Note 33 for further information and other time series considerations.

Source(s): Total marriages, Australia, 1997-2017(a)-Total marriages, Australia, 1997-2017(a)



CRUDE MARRIAGE RATE

In 2017, Australia's crude marriage rate was 4.6 marriages per 1,000 persons. This compared with 4.9 marriages per 1,000 persons in 2016, 5.5 in 2007 and 5.8 in 1997.

Graph Image for Crude marriages rates, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) 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 Note 42. (b) There are a range of administrative factors that can affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See Explanatory Note 33 for further information and other time series considerations.

Source(s): Crude marriages rates, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)-Crude marriages rates, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)


MEDIAN AGE AT MARRIAGE

The median age at marriage in 2017 was 32.0 years of age for males, increasing by 0.1 years when compared with 2016, while for females the median age at marriage increased by 0.2 years to 30.1 years of age. This is the first time the median age at marriage for females exceeded 30 years of age. The median age at marriage has remained relatively stable for both males and females for more than a decade, increasing by only 0.4 years for males and 0.8 years for females since 2007.

Graph Image for Median age at marriage, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Only people aged 16 years and over are eligible to marry in Australia according to the Marriages Act 1961. See Glossary and Explanatory Note 3 for further information. (b) There are a range of administrative factors that can affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See Explanatory Note 33 for further information and other time series considerations.

Source(s): Median age at marriage, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)-Median age at marriage, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)



MEDIAN AGE AT FIRST MARRIAGE

The median age at first marriage in 2017 was 30.4 years of age for males and 28.8 years of age for females. The median age at first marriage has slowly increased for both males and females over the past decade, with a 0.8 year increase for males and a 1.2 year increase for females since 2007.

Graph Image for Median age at first marriage, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Only people aged 16 years and over are eligible to marry in Australia according to the Marriages Act 1961. See Glossary and Explanatory Note 3 for further information. (b) Includes males and females where previous marital status is not stated.

Source(s): Median age at first marriage, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)-Median age at first marriage, Australia, 1997-2017(a)(b)



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 43–45.

For both males and females in 2017, the highest age–specific marriage rates were for people between 25–29 years of age, with 35.5 marriages per 1,000 males and 41.8 marriages per 1,000 females.

While for older age groups (over 30 years of age) age-specific marriage rates increased from 1997 to 2007, all age groups have recorded decreased rates since then.

Age-specific marriage rates(a), Australia, Selected years, 1997–2017(b)

Age group (years)
1997
2007
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017

Males

16–19
1.0
0.9
0.6
0.7
0.7
0.6
0.6
20–24
27.5
17.8
15.2
14.3
12.8
12.3
11.3
25–29
48.8
46.0
41.2
41.4
37.9
39.0
35.5
30–34
28.7
36.5
33.9
35.2
32.3
33.6
31.6
35–39
15.4
19.7
18.8
18.4
17.2
18.0
17.1
40–44
9.5
11.3
10.8
11.0
10.5
10.6
10.1
45–49
7.3
8.1
7.6
7.6
7.6
7.9
7.6
50 and over
3.5
3.7
3.4
3.4
3.3
3.5
3.3

Females

16–19
5.5
3.7
3.1
2.8
2.4
2.2
2.0
20–24
45.9
31.6
25.4
25.0
21.1
21.4
19.3
25–29
46.5
51.6
48.3
48.9
44.0
46.2
41.8
30–34
22.2
31.1
30.3
30.7
28.6
30.0
28.1
35–39
11.4
15.4
14.2
14.2
13.8
14.0
13.6
40–44
7.5
8.5
8.4
8.4
8.3
8.6
8.1
45–49
5.8
6.5
6.2
6.2
6.0
6.3
6.1
50 and over
1.9
2.1
1.9
2.0
2.1
2.0
1.9

(a) 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 43–45 for more information.
(b) There are a range of administrative factors that can affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See Explanatory Note 33 for further information and other time series considerations.


MONTH OF MARRIAGE

Of the 112,954 marriages registered in 2017, the most popular month of celebration for marriages was November with 12,576 (11.1%) marriages. The month of June was the least popular month for marriages with only 6,032 (5.3%) 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.

Graph Image for Months of marriage, Australia, 2017(a)

Footnote(s): (a) As not all marriages registered in 2017 were celebrated in 2017, data may reflect the day and month of their respective year of marriage. Please see Explanatory Note 9 for further information.

Source(s): Months of marriage, Australia, 2017(a)-Months of marriage, Australia, 2017(a)



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 32 for more information.

In 2017, most jurisdictions reported a small decline in marriage registrations compared to 2016. The largest of these was New South Wales which decreased by 2,430 (-6.2%). The number of marriage registrations for Victoria and South Australia also notably decreased for the 2017 reference period. Both states had a large number of marriages celebrated in 2015 that were not registered until 2016, which contributed to a higher than normal count of 2016 marriage registrations.

Victoria recorded the highest crude marriage rate in 2017 (4.8 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population), whilst the Northern Territory had the lowest crude marriage rate, with 3.1 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population

Number of marriages(a), States and territories, Selected years, 1997–2017

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

1997
36,679
25,456
20,868
7,945
10,456
2,672
786
1,873
106,735
2007
37,984
26,965
25,808
8,094
12,292
2,790
777
1,613
116,325
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
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
2017
36,832
30,129
22,341
7,265
11,707
2,240
769
1,674
112,954

(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 32 for further information.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting Victorian data from 2013 as the category values were calculated from a weighted sample. Please see Explanatory Note 34 for further information.
(c) Both Victoria and South Australia had a large number of marriages celebrated in 2015 that were not registered until 2016. This has contributed to a higher than normal count of marriage registrations in 2016. Changes to the Marriage Act 1961 on 9 December 2017 and work required to adjust registration systems may have contributed to processing delays in some jurisdictions. ABS recommends caution when comparing counts and rates with other years. See Explanatory Note 33 for further information.
(d) There are a range of administrative factors that can affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See Explanatory Note 33 for further information and other time series considerations.


REGISTERED RELATIONSHIPS

Most state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages provide couples an alternative to marriage where a relationship register of some kind is offered and maintained. Currently, Western Australia and Northern Territory are the only states and territories without a relationship register. Registers are available to adults who are in a relationship as a couple, regardless of sex.

A registered relationship is not only a legal proof of a relationship but it may also make it easier to prove the relationship when required for tax, superannuation and government payments as well as proving next-of-kin status to funeral directors and in medical emergencies.

Relationships which are recorded in these registers are not included in marriage statistics. However, the state and territory Registries of Birth, Deaths and Marriages provide the ABS with counts from these registers to provide a more holistic picture of how relationships are legalised.

Whilst the number of registered marriages has slowly declined over time, the number of relationships registered are growing on an annual basis. There were 14,626 relationships registered in 2017, over double the number registered only 5 years ago in 2013 (7,281).

Graph Image for Religious marriages, Civil Marriages and Registered relationships, 2013-2017, Australia(a)(b)(c)(d)(e)

Footnote(s): (a) Currently, Western Australia and Northern Territory are the only states and territories without a relationship register. (b) The numbers of Relationship registrations in Victoria are produced on a financial year basis, and are therefore estimated e.g. 2017 was produced by adding half of 2016/17 to half 2017/18. (c) The SA relationship register commenced in 2017. SA will therefore not be included in relationship register data presented prior to 2017. (d) Registered marriages where a marriage rite has not been stated or a rite is not classifiable according to current ABS classifications, have not been included in totals. (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), 2016 (cat. no. 1266.0). See Explanatory Notes 21-22 for further information.

Source(s): Religious marriages, Civil Marriages and Registered relationships, 2013-2017, Australia(a)(b)(c)(d)(e)-Religious marriages, Civil Marriages and Registered relationships, 2013-2017, Australia(a)(b)(c)(d)(e)