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ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
Marital status specific ERPs are revised for 1997 to 2001, based on the Census of Population and Housing, 2001 (2001 census) and are final.
All marital status specific rates for 1997 to 2001 are revised in line with the ERP revisions (based on the 2001 census) and are now final.
In 2002 there were 105,400 marriages registered in Australia, an increase of 2,300 (2%) when compared with 2001 and a decrease of 11,800 (10%) on 1982.
While marriage rates per 1,000 unmarried population (aged 15 years and over) are not yet available for 2002, the marriage rate trend since 1981 shows that marriage is declining. Marriage rates for the unmarried population fell in 2001 to 31 per 1,000 unmarried men and 28 per 1,000 unmarried women from 35 and 32, respectively in 2000 and 55 and 53, respectively in 1982.
The trend towards older age at marriage continued in 2002. The median age at marriage for men was 31 years, rising from 26 years in 1982. For women the median age rose to 29 years in 2002 from 24 years in 1982.
The median age at first marriage also rose. In 2002 it was 29 years for men and 27 years for women. Twenty years ago the respective median ages at first marriage were 25 years and 22 years.
First marriages and remarriages
In 2002 marriages in which neither party had been previously married comprised 66% of all marriages registered. A further 18% were first marriages for one partner and a remarriage for the other and 15% were remarriages for both partners. These proportions were similar to those recorded in 1982.
Children of marriage are defined as children of previous marriages, aged under 16 years. In 2002, 31% of grooms remarrying had children from a previous marriage. For brides the proportion remarrying with children was similar at 33%. Twenty years ago the comparative proportions were lower, 17% each for both grooms and brides.
Category of celebrant
In 2002 marriages performed by civil celebrants again outnumbered marriages performed by ministers of religion. This trend commenced in 1999 when 51% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. By 2002 this proportion had increased to 55%. Twenty years ago only 39% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants.
Cohabitation prior to marriage
The increasing trend to cohabit prior to entering a registered marriage continued in 2002. Marriage data for 2002 indicated that 73% of couples cohabited prior to marriage. Comparative data from the 1991 Family Survey showed that twenty years ago only 30% of couples had lived together prior to marriage.
In 2002 the Northern Territory (81%) recorded the highest proportion cohabiting prior to marriage and New South Wales recorded the lowest (69%).
ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION
The estimated resident population, aged 15 years and over, by marital status at 30 June 2002 is not yet available. The total population, aged 15 years and over, was 15.7 million persons at 30 June 2002. The latest available marital status estimates are at 30 June 2001.
In June 2001 there were 15.4 million people aged 15 years and over in the population, a rise of 38% on 1981. The 2001 population was comprised of 4.9 million never married, 8.4 million married, 940,000 widowed and 1.1 million divorced persons. The largest proportional increase over the past twenty years was in the divorced population, increasing by 172% between 1981 and 2001.
Between 1981 and 2001 the median age of the population, aged 15 years and over, increased from 38 years in 1981 to 42 years in 2001. The increase in the median age was evident in each marital status and for both males and females.
MARITAL STATUS AND LIVING ARRANGEMENTS (Persons aged 15 years and over)
The ABS measures two separate concepts of marital status, registered marital status and social marital status. For further information see the special article in Chapter 2, Marital Status and Living Arrangements.
The 2001 census showed that 8 million men and women were living as partners in couple relationships and that 12% of these were de facto married. Ten years prior the 1991 census indicated that around 7.2 million men and women were living as partners in couple relationships and that 8% of these were de facto married.
The number of lone parents is increasing. In 2001, 762,600 men and women were living as lone parents up from 552,300 in 1991, an increase of 38%. The vast majority of lone parents were females. In 2001 lone parents were comprised of 127,500 males (17%) and 635,100 females (83%).
Between the 1991 and 2001 censuses the number of men and women living as lone persons increased from 1.1 million to 1.6 million, an increase of 43%. While the majority of lone persons were females (55%), males outnumbered females in all age groups up to and including the age group 45-54 years. For the age group 65 years and over females outnumbered males by almost three to one. This is due to the high number of females who are widowed above this age.
SAME-SEX DE FACTO LIVING ARRANGEMENTS (Persons aged 15 years and over)
The 1996 and 2001 censuses identified the number of persons stated to be same-sex de facto married. For further information see the special article in Chapter 3, Same-sex De Facto Living Arrangements.
The examination of this data may have limitations, including a reluctance of persons to identify as being in a same-sex de facto marriage and a lack of knowledge that same-sex couples would be counted as such in the 2001 census.
In 2001 the census count of persons, aged 15 years and over, in same-sex de facto marriages was 37,800 persons.
In 2001 same-sex de facto married represented 0.5% of all persons living as social married.
New South Wales had the highest proportion of male, same-sex married (0.4%) while the Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of female, same-sex married (0.4%). The lowest proportions for both male and female, same-sex married were in Tasmania (each 0.1%).
Children were present in 11% of same-sex de facto married households compared with 42% of opposite-sex de facto married and 59% of registered married.
MARRIAGES REGISTERED, Summary(a), States and territories, 2002
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