There were 1,655 marriages registered in the ACT in 2005, a decrease of 3.7% from the previous year, and a decrease of 5.6 from the number of marriages registered in 1995. The crude marriage rate in the ACT decreased between 2004 and 2005, from 5.3 marriages per 1,000 population, to 5.1 marriages per 1,000 population.
The ACT crude marriage rate has been below the Australian rate in recent years, with the exception of 1997. In 2005, the Australian crude marriage rate was 5.4 marriages per 1,000 population, while the ACT recorded a rate of 5.1 marriages per 1,000 population.
5.10 Crude marriage rates (a),
ACT and Australia
Previous marital status
Marriages in which neither party had been previously married accounted for 69% of registered marriages in the ACT in 2005, similar to the proportion recorded the previous year. There were 307 marriages (19%) in which one party had been married previously and 209 (13%) in which both parties were remarrying.
Age at marriage
The trend towards older age at marriage continued in the ACT in 2005. When looking back across the decades an increasing change in median age is evident, with the median age for males increasing from 27.8 years in 1985, to 29.2 years in 1995 and up to 32.0 years in 2005. Similarly, in the past 20 years the median age of females marrying has increased from 25.4 years in 1985, to 26.7 years in 1995 and up to 29.7 years in 2005.
In the ACT during 2005, the median age at marriage for grooms who had never been married was 30.0 years, while for brides it was 27.9 years. Nationally, the median ages were 30.0 years for grooms and 28.0 years for brides.
Divorcees who remarried in the ACT in 2005 had median ages of 45.7 years for grooms and 42.3 years for brides. These were comparable with the national figures of 44.9 years for grooms and 41.6 years for brides.
Of the 1,655 couples who registered a marriage in the ACT in 2005, 78.4% indicated that they had cohabited prior to registering their marriage. This proportion was higher than the national figure which indicated that 75.9% of couples cohabited prior to marriage Australia-wide.
Category of celebrant
In 2005, 971 (59%) marriages in the ACT were performed by civil celebrants, while 684 (41%) were performed by ministers of religion. This reflects an increasing trend towards civil ceremonies over recent decades. Civil celebrants performed for 43% of all ACT marriages in 1985 and overtook ministers of religion as the preferred officiate in 1998. Nationally, civil celebrants performed 59.6% of marriages in 2005, while ministers of religion performed 40.4%.
Of the 684 marriages performed by ministers of religion in 2005, the most common rites used were Catholic (40%), followed by Anglican (26%).
By category of celebrant: