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3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2003   
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Civil celebrants more popular than ever


People are more likely to be married by a civil celebrant than ever according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. Over the past twenty years, the proportion of marriages performed by civil celebrants has steadily increased. In 1982, 39% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants. In 2002, civil celebrants performed 55% of all registered marriages.

The proportion of couples choosing to live together prior to getting married has more than doubled over the past twenty years. In 1982, 30% of couples cohabited prior to entering a registered marriage. The ABS estimates that this proportion reached 73% in 2002.

The median age at marriage continued to rise in 2002 for both first marriages and remarriages. For men marrying for the first time, the median age increased from 25 years in 1982 to 29 years in 2002. For women marrying for the first time, the median age increased from 22 years to 27 years. Increases in the median age at marriage were also recorded for men and women remarrying after divorce or widowhood.

In 2002, 105,400 marriages were registered in Australia, 2% more than the twenty year low of 2001 (103,100). This was still less than in 1992 (114,800) and 1982 (117,300).

The 2001 Census of Population and Housing showed that 8 million men and women were living as partners in couple relationships and that 12% of these were de facto married. 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.

Divorce data are not yet available for 2002. Data will be released via this web site when available.

Further details are in Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 3310.0).

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