3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2018 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/11/2019   
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Marriages

Number of marriages

There were 119,188 registered marriages in Australia in 2018, an increase of 6,234 (5.5%) compared to 2017 (112,954). This number includes 6,538 same-sex marriages, representing 5.5% of all marriages.

Number of marriages registered in Australia, 1998-2018
Graph: Number of marriages registered in Australia, 1998-2018
Footnotes:
(a) There are a range of administrative factors that affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See 'Considerations when interpreting 2018 and time-series data' in the Explanatory Notes for further information.
(b) Care should be taken when interpreting 2004 data. In 2004 marriage registrations were sampled for NSW, Vic, Qld and SA, while the other states were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. For an explanation and calculation of the sampling error see the Technical Note in Marriages, Australia, 2004 (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001).
(c) In 2012 and 2013, the Victorian marriage data contributing to totals were compiled using a sampling method. Caution is advised when interpreting marriages data for 2012 and 2013, as this includes estimates for Victoria.
(d) Marriages data is confidentialised in this publication. See the 'Confidentiality' section of the Explanatory Notes for further details.

Crude marriage rate

In 2018, Australia's crude marriage rate was 4.8 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population. The crude rate has decreased over time, from:

  • 5.5 marriages per 1,000 persons in 2008; and
  • 5.9 marriages per 1,000 persons in 1998.

Crude marriage rate, 1998-2018
Graph: Crude marriage rate, 1998-2018
Footnotes:
(a) Crude marriage rates reflect the number of marriages registered during the year per 1,000 estimated resident population, as at 30 June for that year. See Glossary and 'Rates and rounding' in Explanatory Notes for further information.
(b) There are a range of administrative factors that affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See 'Considerations when interpreting 2018 and time-series data' in the Explanatory Notes for further information.
(c) Care should be taken when interpreting 2004 data. In 2004 marriage registrations were sampled for NSW, Vic, Qld and SA, while the other states were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. For an explanation and calculation of the sampling error see the Technical Note in Marriages, Australia, 2004 (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001).
(d) In 2012 and 2013, the Victorian marriage data contributing to totals were compiled using a sampling method. Caution is advised when interpreting marriages data for 2012 and 2013, as this includes estimates for Victoria.

Median age at marriage

The median age at marriage in 2018 was 32.4 years of age for males and 30.5 for females. This includes those marrying for the first time, as well as those who were remarrying as a result of being widowed or divorced.

The median age at marriage increased by 0.4 years for both sexes compared with 2017, largely driven by the older age at marriage for those in same-sex marriages (44.9 years for males and 39.3 for females).

Median age at marriage by sex, 1998-2018
Graph:Median age at marriage by sex, 1998-2018
Footnotes:
(a) The minimum age at which a person can legally marry in Australia is 16 years. See 'Marriages and divorces legislation' in the Explanatory Notes for further details.
(b) There are a range of administrative factors that affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See 'Considerations when interpreting 2018 and time-series data' in the Explanatory Notes for further information.
(c) 2018 is the first full year for which same-sex marriage data are available. There are a very small number of same-sex marriages included in data for 2017. Where data are presented by sex for 2017, a small number of males are included in data for females and vice versa.
(d) Marriage data by sex exclude data for which the person did not identify as male or female.
(e) Care should be taken when interpreting 2004 data. In 2004 marriage registrations were sampled for NSW, Vic, Qld and SA, while the other states were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. For an explanation and calculation of the sampling error see the Technical Note in Marriages, Australia, 2004 (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001).
(f) In 2012 and 2013, the Victorian marriage data contributing to totals were compiled using a sampling method. Caution is advised when interpreting marriages data for 2012 and 2013, as this includes estimates for Victoria.

Age groups

In 2018:
  • nearly one-third (33.1%) of females who married did so between the ages of 25 and 29; and
  • over one-quarter (27.8%) of males who married were aged between 25 and 29, and a further quarter (25.3%) married between the ages of 30 and 34.

Proportion of marriages by age and sex, 2018
Graph: Proportion of marriages by age and sex, 2018
Footnotes:
(a) The minimum age at which a person can legally marry in Australia is 16 years. See 'Marriages and divorces legislation' in the Explanatory Notes for further details.
(b) Marriage data by sex exclude data for which the person did not identify as male or female.
(c) Perturbation has been applied to marriages data in this publication. Due to perturbation, component cells may not add to published totals. See the 'Confidentiality' section of the Explanatory Notes for further details.
(d) 2018 is the first full year for which same-sex marriage data are available. There are a very small number of same-sex marriages included in data for 2017. Where data are presented by sex for 2017, a small number of males are included in data for females and vice versa.
(e) See 'Considerations when interpreting 2018 and time-series data' in the Explanatory Notes for further information.

Most popular time of year to marry

Analysis of marriages data based on the date the marriage occurred (rather than the date on which it was registered) shows that:
  • March was the most popular month in which to marry (11.8% of couples married in March);
  • Spring was the most popular season in which to marry, with 31.8% of couples marrying between September and November; and
  • Saturday the 20th of October was the most popular day on which to marry, with 1,993 couples tying the knot that day.

Proportion of marriages that occurred in 2018 by month of marriage
Graph: Proportion of marriages that occurred in 2018 by month of marriage
Footnotes:
(a) The data presented in this graph are based on the year in which the marriage occurred, rather than the year in which it was registered. A proportion of marriages occur in a given year but are not registered until subsequent years. Care should be taken in interpreting 2018 occurrence data, particularly for December, as marriage counts are expected to increase with further processing.
(b) Perturbation has been applied to marriages data in this publication. Due to perturbation, component cells may not add to published totals. See the 'Confidentiality' section of the Explanatory Notes for further details.
(c) See 'Considerations when interpreting 2018 and time-series data' in the Explanatory Notes for further information.

Popularity of marriage month varies by state and territory. For marriages registered in 2018 which also occurred in 2018:
  • March was the most popular month in which to marry for couples in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory;
  • July was the most popular month to wed in the Northern Territory;
  • September was most popular for Queensland weddings; and
  • October was the most popular month in which to marry in South Australia.

State and territory data

Marriage statistics are presented by the state or territory in which the marriage was registered, rather than the state or territory of usual residence of the couple. In 2018:
  • all states and territories recorded an increase in marriages compared with 2017, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory;
  • New South Wales recorded the largest increase in marriages, up 3,751 (10.2%);
  • Tasmania had the greatest percentage increase in marriages, up 11.5% (257 marriages); and
  • same-sex marriages contributed to increased numbers, comprising between 4.9% and 8.3% of marriages in each state and territory.

Marriages, state and territory of registration, 2017 and 2018

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT(d)
Aust.

2017no.
36,832
30,129
22,341
7,265
11,707
2,240
769
1,674
112,954
2018no.
40,583
30,152
23,641
7,741
12,219
2,497
795
1,562
119,188
Change, 2017-18no.
3,751
23
1,300
476
512
257
26
-112
6,234
Change, 2017-18%
10.2
0.1
5.8
6.6
4.4
11.5
3.4
-6.7
5.5
2018 same-sex marriagesno.
2,290
1,655
1,292
387
600
143
47
130
6,538
Proportion of 2018 marriages that were same-sex(b)%
5.6
5.5
5.5
5.0
4.9
5.7
5.9
8.3
5.5

Footnotes:
(a) Marriage data are based on the state or territory of registration rather than state or territory of usual residence of the couple. See 'Marriages' in the 'Considerations when interpreting 2018 and time-series data' section of the Explanatory Notes for further information.
(b) Same-sex marriage data exclude marriages registered for which one or both parties of the marriage did not identify as male or female. See 'Sex' in the 'Classifications' section of the Explanatory Notes.
(c) Perturbation has been applied to marriages data in this publication. Due to perturbation, component cells may not add to published totals. See the 'Confidentiality' section of the Explanatory Notes for further details.
(d) The number of registered marriages in the ACT in 2017 was inflated by larger than usual numbers of lagged registrations from previous years.

Registered relationships

Most state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages provide couples an alternative to marriage, in the form of a relationship register. Registers are available to adults who are in a relationship as a couple, regardless of sex.

A relationship register provides legal proof of a relationship, which may be helpful for:
  • tax purposes;
  • superannuation and government payments;
  • providing next-of-kin status to funeral directors; and
  • medical emergencies.

Registered relationships are not included in marriage statistics. However, each state and territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that has a relationship register provides counts of registered relationships to the ABS. These counts provide a more holistic picture of how relationships are legalised. Currently Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (where the register was withdrawn following the legalisation of same-sex marriage) are the only jurisdictions without a register.

Registered relationships as a proportion of all legal relationships (in those states and territories with a relationship register) has increased over time, from 7.5% in 2014 to 13.6% in 2018.

Registered relationships as a proportion of all legal relationships, selected states and territories, 2014-2018
raphRegistered relationships as a proportion of all legal relationships, selected states and territories, 2014-2018
Footnotes:
(a) Data in this table reflect the number of registered relationships as a proportion of all legal relationships (that is, the sum of registered relationships and registered marriages).
(b) Data for Victoria for 2014 to 2017 have been estimated based on data provided by financial year.
(c) Data for 'Australia' for 2018 include South Australia (for which 2018 is the only full calendar year for which registered relationship data are available), and exclude the Australian Capital Territory, which no longer has a relationship register.