3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2015  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/11/2016   
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30 November 2016
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Brides, grooms and divorcees have never been older

Australian men and women are getting married later but also staying married longer, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Kirsty Parkes, Acting Director of Health and Vital Statistics, said that since 1995, the age at which people have first married has increased by around three years.

"Age at first marriage stabilised between 2005 and 2009, but since then has steadily increased. As a result, grooms preparing for their first marriage are now on average 30.1 years of age, while brides are likely to be a shade younger at 28.5 years of age," said Ms Parkes.

"The age of divorcees is also at a record high, now more than five years older on average than they were 20 years ago.

"As well as this, marriages that ended in 2015 lasted on average 12.1 years, compared with 11.0 years in 1995," said Ms Parkes.

Other key characteristics of marriages and divorces have also changed over the last two decades. The number of marriages performed by religious celebrants has halved, with three quarters of marriages now performed by a civil celebrant. Additionally, the proportion of all divorces that are filed jointly is now over 40 per cent and rising, compared with 20 per cent in 1995.

"On top of these changes, in many states and territories, relationship registers now present couples with an alternative to marriage," said Ms Parkes.

"In 2015, there were 9,344 couples in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory who formalised their partnership in this way. While this option is still only chosen by a small proportion of couples, it does appear to be contributing to a small decline in marriage numbers," she said.

Further information can be found in Marriages and Divorces, Australia (cat. no 3310.0) available for free download from the ABS website: https://www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes:
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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