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NUMBER OF DIVORCES
In 2017, there were 49,032 divorces granted in Australia, an increase of 2,428 (5.0%) from the 46,604 divorces granted in 2016.
Footnote(s): (a) The divorce statistics shown in this publication relate to divorces granted in a calendar year. See explanatory note 25.
CRUDE DIVORCE RATE
In 2017, the crude divorce rate in Australia was 2.0 divorces granted per 1,000 estimated resident population, increasing slightly from 2016 (1.9).
Footnote(s): (a) Number of divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June for each reference year respectively. See Glossary and Explanatory Note 42.
AGE AT MARRIAGE, SEPARATION AND DIVORCE
For those marriages that ended in divorce in 2017, the median age of males at divorce was 45.5 years of age and 42.9 years of age for females. For divorcees in 2017, the median age at which both sexes had married was in their twenties, 29.1 years of age for males, compared with 26.8 years of age for females. Couples who divorced in 2017 separated at a median age of 41.8 years of age for males, and 39.0 years of age for females.
Median Age at Marriage, Separation and Divorce, Australia, Selected years, 1997–2017
Overall, males granted a divorce in 2017 tended to be older than females at marriage, separation and divorce.
More than half (56.7%) of the females granted a divorce in 2017 were under 45 years of age at divorce compared with 48.3% of males.
The highest proportion of divorces for males occurred among those aged 45-49 (15.6%), the same age group as the highest proportion for females (15.8%).
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 2017, age-specific divorce rates increased slightly across age groups in line with increased numbers of divorces overall. The age-specific divorce rates were highest for males in their forties, with divorce rates at 9.2 per 1,000 estimated resident population for males 40-44 years of age, and 9.5 for those aged 45-49. The age-specific divorce rates were also highest for females in their forties, at 9.5 divorces per 1,000 for females 40-44 years of age, and 9.2 per 1,000 for those aged 45-49.
Age-specific divorce rates(a), Australia, Selected years, 1997–2017(b)(c)
(a) This data is only available for Census years. Calculated as number of people granted divorce per 1,000 married population according to Census data for each reference year respectively. See Glossary and Explanatory Note 45 for more information.
(b) In the Census, people aged 14 years or younger are assumed to be unmarried therefore only married persons aged 15 years to 24 years have been included in the population for this rate.
(c) Number of divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population of the same age at 30 June for each reference year respectively. Males and females under 16 years are excluded from the population because they are unlikely to be married under Australian legislation. See Explanatory Notes 43–45 for further information.
LENGTH OF MARRIAGE OF DIVORCING COUPLES
The median duration of marriage to divorce was 12.0 years in 2017. Historically, the median duration of marriage to divorce reached a peak of 12.6 years in 2005 but has declined slightly since then.
The median duration of marriage to separation was 8.3 years in 2017, a slight decrease from 8.4 years in 2016. The median duration of marriage to separation has also declined slowly since peaking at 8.9 years in 2006.
STATE AND TERRITORY DATA
Number of divorces, States and territories, Selected years, 1997-2017(a)
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 2017, the number of divorces granted in all states and territories increased in all but Western Australia compared with 2016. Victoria recorded the largest increase in the number of divorces granted, increasing by 1,698 (15.2%) compared to 2016. It is likely that administrative factors may have contributed to year on year changes in Victoria.
Queensland has the highest crude divorce rate of 2.3 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population, while the Northern Territory had the lowest divorce rate at 1.6 per 1,000 estimated resident population.
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