3106.0 - Demography News, Oct 2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/10/2000   
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Marriages and Divorces

Civil celebrants have, for the first time, become the preferred choice of couples marrying. In 1999, just over 51% of people marrying chose civil celebrants to perform their marriage. At the start of the century only around 3% were electing to be married by civil celebrants. However, the two largest States (New South Wales and Victoria) did not conform to the national choice and continued to have a higher proportion of their marriages being performed by ministers of religion (52% and just over 50%, respectively).

Another first for marriages in Australia in 1999 was that the median age of men marrying exceeded 30 years of age for the first time (30.1 years). This continues the long-term trend towards older age at marriage which was evident for both men and women. The median age of women marrying was 27.9 years. Ten years ago the median age at marriage was 28.0 years and 25.7 years for men and women, respectively.

Overall 46% of marriages are likely to end in divorce. Age at marriage is associated with the likelihood to divorce with the highest divorce rates likely to occur among people who marry at ages under 20 years.

Further information is available in Marriages and Divorces Australia, 1999 (Cat. No. 3310.0) released on 21 September 2000. The publication contains two special articles, Divorces by Country of Birth which examines the country of birth specific divorce rates of major birthplace groups within Australia and Divorce in the Nineties which looks at divorce trends and expectations by age at marriage and duration of marriage.