3306.0.55.001 - Marriages, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/09/2008  Final
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1 This publication contains statistics on marriages registered in Australia.

2 Statistics on marriages for years prior to 2003 were published together with statistics on marriages in Marriages and Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3310.0).

3 The data presented in this publication are supplemented by a series of spreadsheets that are available on the ABS website. Any references to tables in the Explanatory Notes also refers to these spreadsheets.

4 A glossary is provided in the 'Explanatory Notes' tab detailing definitions of terminology used.

5 The Marriage Act 1961 came into full operation on 1 September 1961. Under the Act, marriages may be celebrated by a minister of religion registered as an authorised celebrant, by a district registrar or by other persons authorised by the Attorney-General. Notice of the intended marriage must be given to the celebrant within 18 months of the marriage, but no later than one month and one day prior to it. Under certain circumstances, however, this time can be shortened. A celebrant must lodge an official certificate of the marriage for registration to a district registrar in the state or territory in which the marriage took place within 14 days.

6 From 20 June 1973, the minimum age at which a person may marry without parental consent was reduced from 21 years to 18 years. Further amendment to the Marriage Act in 1991, designated the minimum age at which persons are legally free to marry to be 18 years. Persons between the age of 16 years and 18 years may marry with parental or guardian consent and an order from a judge or magistrate. Any two persons under the age of 18 years may not marry each other.


Scope of Marriage Statistics

7 The ABS marriages statistics collection includes all marriages which occurred and were registered in Australia. Marriages of Australian residents that occurred outside Australia may be registered by individual Registrars, but are not included in marriages statistics.

8 The scope of the statistics;

      - includes all marriages being registered for the first time.
      - includes marriages in Australia of temporary visitors to Australia.
      - includes marriages that occurred in earlier reference periods that have not been previously registered (late registrations)
      - excludes marriages of Australians which occur overseas

Coverage of Marriage Statistics

9 Coverage of marriage statistics in Australia is considered complete as all marriages are recorded as legal events.

10 Ideally, for compiling annual time series, the number of events (marriages) should be recorded and reported as those occurring within a given reference period such as a calendar year. However, due to lags in registration of events and the provision of that information to the ABS, this ideal is unlikely to be met under the current legislation and registration business processes. Therefore, the occurrence event is approximated by addition of the event on a state/territory register of marriages. Also, some additions to the register can be delayed in being received by the ABS from the Registrar (processing or data transfer lags). In effect there are 3 dates attributable to each marriage registration:
      - The date of occurrence (of the marriage),
      - The date of registration or inclusion on the State/Territory register,
      - The month in which the registered event is lodged with the ABS.

11 As a result of the delay in registration, some marriages celebrated in one year are not registered until the following year. Of the marriages registered in 2007, 3066 were celebrated in 2006. In addition to this, there were 109 that occurred prior to 2006 but were registered in 2007. These registrations were received by the ABS in 2007 and had not previously been included in marriage statistics. Subsequently they have been included in the 2007 data.


Socio-Demographic Classifications

12 A range of socio-demographic data is available from the marriages collection. Standard classifications used in the presentation of marriages statistics include age, sex, birthplace, previous marital status and children of to previous marriages. Statistical standards for social and demographic variables have been developed by the ABS.

Marital Status

13 Within ABS marriage statistics previous marital status relates only to registered marital status, that is formally registered marriages or divorces for which the partners hold a certificate.

14 For further information about Marital Status refer to Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2005 (cat.no. 1286.0).

Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG)

15 The Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 2005 was released in December 2005 and was used for classifying marriage rites from 2006 onwards. In the 2005 collection, marriage rites were classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 1996. Prior to this, marriage rites were coded according to a non-standard classification developed within the ABS.

16 For further information about Marital Status refer to Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 2005 (cat. no. 1266.0)

Geographic Classifications

Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)

17 The ASGC is a hierarchical classification system consisting of six interrelated classification structures. The ASGC provides a common framework of statistical geography and thereby enables the production of statistics which are comparable and can be spatially integrated. These provide marriage statistics with a ‘where’ dimension.

18 For further information about the ASGC refer to Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), Jul 2007 (cat. no. 1216.0)

Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC)

19 The SACC groups neighbouring countries into progressively broader geographic areas on the basis of their similarity in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics. The SACC is the revised edition of the Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS). The SACC also incorporates previous revisions to the ASCCSS.

20 Birthplaces within Australia are coded to the state/territory level where possible. The supplementary codes contain the relevant state and territory 4-digit codes.

21 For further information about the SACC refer to Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (Revision 2.03) (cat.no. 1269.0)

Main English-speaking Countries (MESC)

22 This refers to the main countries from which Australia receives, or has received, significant numbers of overseas settlers who are likely to speak English. These countries comprise the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and the United States of America. All other countries are classified as Non Main English-speaking countries (NMESC).


23 The registration of marriages is the responsibility of the individual state and territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This information is provided to the ABS by individual Registrars for coding and compilation into aggregate statistics shown in this publication.


24 There are two different rates of marriage presented in this publication: crude marriage rates and age-specific marriage rates.

Crude marriage rates

25 Crude marriage rate provides a summary indicator which compares the number of people who marry within a year to the total estimated resident population as at 30 June of that year. This provides a rough indicator of change over time in the number of marriages within the population.

Age specific marriage rates

26 Age-specific marriage rates give an indication of the proportion males or females in a particular age group of a population registering their marriage in a given year.

27 Age-specific marriage rates per 1,000 population gives the proportion of total estimated resident population for a give age-group who are marry in a specific year. This gives a rough indication of number of males or females of a certain age who register their marriage, controlling for changes in the age distribution of the population. In calculating these rates, people aged under 16 years are excluded from the population as their are not legally eligible to marry in Australia. Prior to 2007, only people aged under 15 years are excluded.


28 Estimates of Australia's population by age at the date of the census are derived from the Census of Population and Housing by adjusting census counts for under-enumeration and adding the number of Australian residents estimated to have been temporarily overseas at the time of the census.

29 Post-censal population estimates are obtained by advancing the previous year's estimates to the next year by subtracting deaths and adding births and net estimated interstate and overseas migration. After each census, estimates for the preceding intercensal period are revised by incorporating an additional adjustment (intercensal discrepancy) to ensure that the total intercensal increase at each age agrees with the difference between the estimated resident populations at the two respective census dates.

30 To meet the conflicting demand for accuracy and timeliness there are three estimates of Estimated Resident Population (ERP) for each year. At the national and state/territory levels preliminary estimates are available six months after the reference date, revised estimates are available months after the end of the financial year and final estimates after the following census. The estimates in this publication are final for the years prior to 2002; revised for 2003, 2004 and 2005; and preliminary for 2006 and 2007.


31 Marriage statistics are based upon the state in which the marriages are registered, rather than the state of usual residence of the applicants. This needs to be considered when interpreting state and territory data, particularly when comparing states/territories. People who usually reside in one jurisdiction may choose to marry in a different jurisdiction. Overseas residents who marry while visiting Australia are also included in marriages statistics by the state/territory in which their marriage is registered. Furthermore, marriages that occur in the other Australian territories of Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay Territory are registered in the nearest state or territory where the marriage occurs.

32 These factors mean that figures published here may not accurately reflect the marriages of the state/territory population and care should be taken in interpreting state/territory data.


Availability of data items

33 A complete review of data items supplied to the ABS by the state/territory Registrars was conducted in 2005. A range of data items were not collected in 2005 due to issues relating to the quality and completeness of information supplied by marrying couples on the Notice of Intended Marriage form and differing state/territory Registrar practices regarding recording of data items. Data items not available from 2005 onwards include:
      - birthplace of bride/groom father
      - birthplace of bride/groom mother
      - number of marriages of bride/groom
      - first marriage date of bride/groom
      - number of previous marriages bride/groom

34 The data item "number of children of previous marriages" was not published in 2006 due to issues relating to the quality of the data. This data item is available for 2007 for selected states.

35 Duration of Residence (years and months) data has not been available for certain states and territories, nor at a national level from 2005. Some state/territory Registrars were not able to supply information for these data items. Duration of Residence (years and months) is not available for New South Wales, South Australia and Australian Capital Territory. Duration of Residence data is not being published for the remaining states and territories in 2007 due to issues relating to the quality of the data. Caution should be used in analysing Duration of Residence data for 2005 and 2006 for Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory.

36 When analysing time series data in this publication, it is important to note that in 2004, marriage registrations were sampled for the larger states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, while the other states and territories were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. For an explanation and calculation of the sampling error see Marriages Australia, 2004, Technical Notes (under Explanatory Notes). Full processing then resumed for 2005.

37 For 2007, an expanded set of tables is available on marriages of people born outside of Australia. This presents data on marriages of people born in Main English-speaking countries (MESC) and other countries (NMESC), as well as data on males and females born overseas.

Age-specific marriage rates

38 Prior to 2007 reference year, age-specific marriage rates for people aged under 19 years excluded all people aged under 15 years as they were unlikely to marry. From 2007 onwards, the method for calculating these rates has been amended so that only those people aged 16 years and over, and therefore eligible to marry according to the Marriages Act 1961, are included.


39 Under the Census and Statistics Act 1901, the ABS is unable to release data which may identify individual contributors. For marriage data, cells with smaller values have been randomised to protect confidentiality. In the past different methods of confidentialising data have been used. When analysing time series data caution should always be used when comparing smaller values.


40 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and sums of the component items.


41 The ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available.


42 Other ABS publications which may be of interest are outlined below. Please note, older publications may no longer be available through ABS bookshops but are available through ABS libraries. All publications released from 1998 onwards are available on the ABS website <https://www.abs.gov.au>
43 There are various special articles containing information on marriages, divorces, children, families and general living arrangements. Many of these articles can be found in Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0). If this publication is accessed on the ABS website it includes a cumulative list of all articles. Other articles can also be found in Year Book Australia (cat. no. 1301.0) and Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2001 to 2026 (cat. no. 3236.0).


45 ABS products and publications are available free of charge from the ABS website <https://www.abs.gov.au>. Click on Statistics to gain access to the full range of ABS statistical and reference information. For details on products scheduled for release in the coming week, click on the Future Releases link on the ABS homepage.


46 As well as the statistics included in this and related products, additional information is available from the ABS web site at <https://www.abs.gov.au> by accessing the topics listed at Themes>People. The ABS may also have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or by sending an email to client.services@abs.gov.au.