3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2001   
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August 23, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australians spend less of life married - ABS report

Australians spend less of life married or widowed and more as never married or divorced, an Australian Bureau of Statistics report revealed today.

The report, Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2000, showed that if the registered marriage, remarriage, widowing, divorce and mortality rates for 1997-1999 were to continue into the future, of the lifespan of 76 years for men, 42 years would be spent as never married, 28 years as married, 2 years as widowed and 5 years as divorced.

For women, in a lifespan of 82 years, the equivalent figures are 40 years as never married, 29 years as married, 6 years as widowed and 7 years as divorced.

Comparing babies born in 1985-1987 and 1997-1999 the average life expectancy at birth increased by nearly 4 years for men and 3 years for women. The average life likely to be spent as never married increased by 6 years for men and 8 years for women. Life likely to be spent married decreased by 4 years for men and 5 years for women. Lifespan likely to be spent as widowed decreased by less than one year for men and by 2 years for women and that spent as divorced increased by 2 years for both men and women over the same period.

People living longer, choosing not to marry or postponing marriage, increased divorce, and a declining proportion remarrying after marital breakdown have contributed to the decrease in the proportion of total life spent married.

Marriage continued in long-term decline in Australia in 2000, when there were 113,400 marriages registered, a decrease of 3,500 marriages when compared with 1990. The marriage rate, per 1,000 unmarried population aged 15 years and over, fell from around 43 per 1,000 in 1990 to 33 in 2000.

Over the last 10 years, divorce in Australia has fluctuated. In 2000, 49,900 divorces were granted - 7,300 more than in 1990. Divorce rates over the period ranged between 11 and 13 divorces per 1,000 married population aged 15 years and over. In 2000 the divorce rate was 12 per 1,000.

Over the 20th century, the marital status composition of the population changed. A hundred years ago, around 52% of men and 40% of women were never married while 43% of men and 50% of women were married. In 2000, the never married proportions fell to 35% for men and 28% for women, while the married proportions rose to 55% and 54%, respectively.

Further details are in Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2000 (cat. no. 3310.0) available from ABS Bookshops. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication please contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.