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3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2012  
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Contents >> Marriages

MARRIAGES


NUMBER OF MARRIAGES

The 123,244 marriages registered in 2012 represented an increase of 1,492 (1.2%) from the 121,752 marriages registered in Australia in 2011. This is the highest number of marriages registered in a single year and continues the relatively steady increase in the number of marriages since 2001.

1.1 Total marriages, Australia, 1992–2012



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 the Glossary and Explanatory Notes 38–42.

1.2 Crude marriage rates, Australia, 1992–2012



Although the number of marriages is now the highest recorded, the population has also increased substantially over time. As a result, the crude marriage rate is now lower than it was 20 years ago.

In 2012, the crude marriage rate was 5.4 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population, compared with 6.6 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1992.

Between 1992 and 2002, the crude marriage rate declined from 6.6 to 5.3. Since 2002, the crude marriage rate has remained relatively steady.

MEDIAN AGE AT MARRIAGE

The median age at marriage for males in 2012 was 31.4 years, the same as that reported in 2011. The median age at marriage for females in 2012 was 29.4 years, an increase of 0.1 years since 2011. Median age at marriage has remained stable for both males and females in recent years.

1.3 Median age at marriage, Australia, 1992–2012



The median age at first marriage in 2012 was 29.8 years for males and 28.1 years for females. Median age at first marriage for males has changed little since 2008, increasing by 0.2 years over this time. The median age at first marriage for females has increased by 0.4 years over the same period.

1.4 Median age at first marriage, Australia, 1992–2012



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 2012, the highest age–specific marriage rates were for people between 25–29 years of age, with 44.2 marriages per 1,000 males and 51.3 marriages per 1,000 females.

The age-specific marriage rate for males between 25–29 years of age has declined from 53.8 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1992 to 44.2 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2012. Age-specific marriage rates also declined for males between 20–24 years of age over this period, from 38.3 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1992 to 16.0 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2012.

While the age-specific marriage rate for males between 20–29 years of age has decreased since 1992, it has increased for males between 30–39 years of age. The age-specific marriage rate for males between 30–34 years of age has increased from 28.8 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1992 to 36.5 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2012. Further, the age-specific marriage rate for males between 35–39 years of age have increased from 15.0 per 1,000 estimated resident population to 19.4 per 1,000 estimated resident population over the same period.

A similar change has occurred in age-specific marriage rates for females. Age-specific marriage rates for females between 20–24 years of age have decreased from 60.0 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1992 to 27.1 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2012. In contrast to males, the age-specific marriage rate for females between 25–29 years of age has increased from 46.5 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1992 to 51.3 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2012. For females between 30–34 years of age the age-specific marriage rates have increased from 21.1 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population in 1992 to 32.0 per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2012.


Table 1.5 Age specific marriage rates(a)(b), Australia, Selected years, 1992–2012
Age group (years)
1992
2002
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012(c)

MALES

16–19
1.5
0.8
0.8
0.9
0.8
0.8
0.7
20–24
38.3
20.8
17.3
17.0
16.1
15.9
16.0
25–29
53.8
46.3
45.0
44.0
43.7
43.2
44.2
30–34
28.8
32.5
36.6
35.8
35.7
35.8
36.5
35–39
15.0
17.1
20.1
19.9
19.9
19.3
19.4
40–44
9.8
10.1
11.4
11.5
11.4
11.4
11.4
45–49
7.7
7.4
8.1
7.9
8.1
8.1
8.0
50 and over
3.4
3.5
3.7
3.6
3.5
3.5
3.6

FEMALES

16–19
7.8
3.9
3.5
3.6
3.5
3.5
3.3
20–24
60.0
35.2
30.5
29.8
28.4
27.6
27.1
25–29
46.5
48.4
52.1
50.8
50.4
50.5
51.3
30–34
21.1
27.1
30.9
30.9
31.4
31.0
32.0
35–39
11.4
13.0
15.3
15.2
15.0
14.8
15.0
40–44
7.6
7.6
8.6
8.6
8.5
8.7
8.8
45–49
6.0
6.0
6.6
6.4
6.3
6.3
6.6
50 and over
1.8
2.0
2.1
2.0
2.0
2.0
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 36–42 for more information.
(c) Care should be taken in interpreting Victorian data for 2012 as the category values are calculated from a weighted sample. Please see Explanatory Notes 27–29 for further information.


PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS

In 2012, 99,557 brides (80.8% of all brides) and 97,622 grooms (79.2% of all grooms) had not married previously. The number of brides and grooms marrying for the first time has increased by 19.1% and 20.7% respectively over the past decade.

1.6 Previously never married, Australia, 1992–2012



Of the 123,244 marriages registered in 2012, 71.8% were between a bride and groom never previously married. A further 16.4% were first marriages for one partner, while 11.8% were remarriages for both partners.

In 2012, 17.7% of brides (21,865) and 19.4% of grooms (23,954), had been previously divorced. The proportion of brides and grooms who had previously been divorced decreased by 0.3 percentage points since 2011.

1.7 Previously divorced, Australia, 1992–2012



In 2012, 1,816 brides (1.5% of all brides) and 1,666 grooms (1.4% of all grooms) who registered for marriage, were widowed. This represents an decrease of 0.2 percentage points for brides and no change in percentage points for grooms since 2011. The number and proportion of widowed males and females marrying has decreased over the past 20 years.

1.8 Previously widowed, Australia, 1992–2012



MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS

The proportion of marriages performed by civil celebrants has increased over the past 20 years. In 2012, 71.9% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. Civil marriages have outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999. In 2012, of the 34,613 marriages performed by ministers of religion, the most common rites used were Catholic (31.8%) followed by Anglican (16.2%).

1.9 Type of celebrant, Australia, Selected years, 1992–2012



In 2012, couples who cohabited before marrying were more likely to marry in a civil ceremony than those who lived apart, with 78.2% of couples cohabiting married in a civil ceremony, compared with 21.8% of those who lived apart.

COUNTRY OF BIRTH

The proportion of marriages between two Australian born people has been gradually decreasing since 1992. Over this time, the proportion of marriages between two people born in Australia has decreased from 64.0% in 1992, to 56.0% of all marriages in 2012. Conversely, the proportion of marriages between two people born in the same overseas country has increased over the same period, from 7.8% in 1992 to 12.5% in 2012. Marriages of people born in different countries comprised 31.3% of all marriages in 2012 compared with 28.0% in 1992.

1.10 Median age, males and females, by Country of birth, 2012



In 2012, the median age of grooms and brides born in Australia was 31.3 years and 29.1 years respectively. Among the countries analysed, the youngest median age was for brides born in Lebanon (26.7 years) and grooms born in India (27.3 years). Brides and grooms with the oldest median age were born in Italy, where the median age of brides is 37.0 years and the median age of grooms is 43.9 years.

COHABITATION PRIOR TO MARRIAGE

The majority of couples registering their marriage in 2012 cohabited prior marriage (77.6%). While the proportion of couples cohabiting prior to marriage decreased from 2011 to 2012, the number of couples cohabiting prior to marriage increased by 445.

1.11 Proportion of cohabitation prior to marriage, Australia, 2007–2012



Couples who cohabited prior to marriage tended to be slightly younger than those who had not lived together prior to marriage. In 2012, the median age of males who lived with their wife before marriage was 31.7 years, compared with 31.4 years for all males who married in 2012. Similarly, the median age of females who lived with their husbands before marriage was 29.7 years, compared with 29.4 years for all females who married in 2012.

MONTH OF MARRIAGE

Of the 123,244 marriages registered in 2012, the most popular month of celebration for marriages was March with 15,193 (12.3%) marriages, followed by November with 14,666 (11.9%) marriages. The month of July was the least popular month for marriages with only 5,582 (4.5%) 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, 2012



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, 1992–2012
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

1992
40,734
28,429
20,316
9,423
10,118
3,081
860
1,791
114,752
2002
36,321
25,058
21,264
7,373
10,484
2,605
747
1,583
105,435
2008
39,137
27,089
26,803
8,046
12,367
2,685
955
1,674
118,756
2009
40,516
27,750
26,342
8,208
12,184
2,637
919
1,562
120,118
2010
40,371
28,142
26,530
8,323
12,684
2,577
954
1,595
121,176
2011
41,720
28,944
25,560
8,115
12,665
2,329
908
1,511
121,752
2012
40,981
29,901
26,276
7,697
12,968
2,913
906
1,602
123,244

(a) Care should be taken in interpreting these figures as marriage data is 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 as the category values are calculated from a weighted sample. Please see Explanatory Note 27-29 for further information.


New South Wales (down by 739 or 1.8% from 2011), South Australia (down by 418 or 5.4% from 2011) and Northern Territory (down by 2 or 0.2% from 2011) were the only jurisdictions to report a decrease in the number of registered marriages from 2011 to 2012. Increases were reported across all other States and Territories, the largest of these being in Victoria which increased by 957 or 3.2% in comparison to 2011.

Queensland recorded the highest crude marriage rate in 2012 (5.8 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population), whilst the Northern Territory had the lowest crude marriage rate, with 3.9 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population.

Marriages performed by ministers of religion as a proportion of all marriages in 2012 were highest in Australian Capital Territory (34.8%) and lowest in the Northern Territory (18.0%).

In 2012, the proportion of marriages where couples lived together prior to marriage was lowest in Victoria (71.7%) and highest in Tasmania (87.8%).


Table 1.14 Selected marriage indicators(a), States and Territories of registration(b), 2012
NSW
Vic.(c)
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

Marriages registered
no.
40,981
29,901
26,276
7,697
12,968
2,913
906
1,602
123,244
Crude marriage rate(d)
rate
5.6
5.3
5.8
4.7
5.3
5.7
3.9
4.3
5.4
Median age at marriage
Males
years
31.2
31.2
31.6
31.6
31.9
32.4
33.4
31.1
31.4
Females
years
29.2
29.4
29.5
29.5
29.6
30.0
30.2
28.9
29.4
Previous marital status
First marriage both partners
no.
29,739
22,276
18,200
5,351
9,155
2,028
622
1,172
88,543
First marriage one partner
no.
6,687
4,550
4,502
1,308
2,173
454
184
233
20,091
Remarriage both partners
no.
4,555
3,075
3,568
1,038
1,640
431
100
197
14,604
Marriage celebrant
Ministers of religion(e)
Number of marriages
no.
13,180
8,427
6,155
2,290
3,102
738
163
558
34,613
Proportion or marriages
%
32.2
28.2
23.4
29.8
23.9
25.3
18.0
34.8
28.1
Civil Celebrants
Number of marriages
no.
27,799
21,453
20,117
5,407
9,866
2,175
743
1,039
88,599
Proportion of marriages
%
67.8
71.7
76.6
70.2
76.1
74.7
82.0
64.9
71.9
Relative birthplace of couple(f)
Both born in Australia
no.
21,743
16,158
16,150
5,060
6,259
2,252
500
926
69,048
Both born in the same overseas country
no.
6,312
4,483
2,159
660
1,484
93
71
176
15,438
Born in different countries
no.
12,905
9,248
7,964
1,977
5,191
567
335
500
38,687
Cohabitation prior to marriage
Number of marriages
no.
29,673
21,443
22,686
6,254
10,979
2,557
762
1,319
95,673
Proportion of marriages
%
72.4
71.7
86.3
81.3
84.7
87.8
84.1
82.3
77.6

(a) See Glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting these figures as marriage data is by State or Territory of registration rather than usual residence. See Explanatory Notes 27–28 for further information.
(c) Care should be taken in interpreting Victorian data for 2012 as the category values are calculated from a weighted sample. Please see Explanatory Note 29 for further information.
(d) Marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. Care should be taken in interpreting these figures as marriage data is 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.


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