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Divorces granted, Australia
Across Australia the number of divorces decreased by 1,024 (2.0%), from 52,399 in 2005 to 51,375 in 2006. The number of divorces in Australia in 2006 represented the fifth annual decrease since a high of 55,330 in 2001. There was a 2.4% decrease in 2002, with the decline in the number of divorces slowing with each successive year to 2005.
Divorces in 2006 represented a decrease of 2.1% on the number granted in 1996 (52,466), but a 30.3% increase on the number granted in 1986 (39,417).
Of all Australian states and territories in 2006, the highest number of divorces were granted in New South Wales (14,482), followed by Queensland (12,175) and Victoria (12,110).
Crude divorce rate, Australia
In 2006, the Australian crude divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1,000 population) was 2.5. The crude divorce rate has been decreasing slowly since 2001 when it was 2.9.
The latest available divorce rates based on the married population are taken from 2006 Census of Population and Housing.
The divorce rate of the married population in 2006 was 12.2 per 1,000 married males and 12.0 per 1,000 married females. This represents a decrease from 14.5 per 1,000 married males and females in 2001 and 14.2 per 1,000 married males and 14.1 per 1,000 married females in 1996 (See paragraph 20 of the Explanatory Notes for more detail).
Males aged 30-34 years had the highest divorce rate (19.5 per 1,000 married males) while the lowest divorce rate (2.2 per 1,000 married males) occurred among males aged 65 years and over.
The highest divorce rate for females is 20.4 per 1,000 married females aged 25-29 years compared with 1.4 divorces per 1,000 married females aged 65 years and over.
AGE AT DIVORCE
Median age at divorce, Australia
The median age at divorce continued to increase in 2006, in line with a long term trend. The median age of males at divorce was 43.9 years, up from 43.5 years in 2005. In 1996, the median age of divorce was 40.2 years for males and in 1986 it was 37.5 years. Similarly, for females, the median age at divorce for 2006 increased to 41.1 years from 40.8 years in 2005. The comparative median ages for females at divorce for 1996 and 1986 were 37.4 years and 34.7 years respectively.
For both males and females the state or territory with the oldest median age at divorce for 2006 was Western Australia (44.7 years for males and 42.2 years for females). In 2006, the state or territory with the youngest median age at divorce for both males and females was Northern Territory, 42.9 years and 39.9 years respectively.
The rise in the median age at divorce is associated with increasing age at marriage and the increase in the interval between marriage and divorce.
In 2006, the median age at marriage for divorcing males was 27.6 years, up from 27.3 years in 2005 and 25.8 years in 1996. For divorcing females, the median age at marriage was 25.1 years in 2006, up from 24.8 years in 2005 and 23.2 years in 1996.
In 2006, the state or territory with the youngest median age at marriage for divorcing males was South Australia (27.1 years) and Tasmania for females (24.6 years). The state and territory with the oldest median age at marriage was New South Wales for males (28.0 years) and Northern Territory for females (25.7 years).
RELATIVE AGE OF DIVORCING PARTIES
Age of divorcing parties at divorce, Australia
At divorce, the difference between the median age of divorcing parties has been between 2.7 and 2.9 years over the last 20 years. In 2006, the difference between the median age of divorcing parties was 2.8 years.
In 2006, 10.2% of divorcing couples were of the same age, 67.5% involved a younger wife and 20.4% involved a younger husband. Of all divorcing couples, 32.4% were aged 1-2 years apart, a further 21.3% 3-4 years apart, and 23.5% were aged 5-9 years apart. Couples with an age difference of 10 years or more accounted for 10.8% of divorcing couples.
The bigger the age difference of the divorcing couple, the more likely the divorcing husband was to be older than the wife. In 2005, for divorcing couples with an age difference of 1-2 years, 68.4% had an older husband. For divorcing couples with an age difference of 10 years or more, 87.8% had an older husband.
AGE-SPECIFIC DIVORCE RATES
Males aged 40-44 years experienced the highest divorce rate in 2006 (11.6 per 1,000 males aged 40-44). This was followed by males aged 35-39 and 45-49, both with 11.2 per 1,000 males. In 2005 the crude divorce rates for males aged 35-39, 40-44 and 45-49 years were 11.7, 12.3 and 11.5 per 1,000 respectively.
In 2006, females aged 35-39 years experienced the highest divorce rate (12.1 per 1,000 females aged 35-39). This was followed by the age groups 40-44 and 30-34 years with rates of 11.9 per 1,000 and 11.1 per 1,000 respectively. In 2005, the comparative divorce rates were 11.8 per 1,000 for females aged 30-34, 12.8 per 1,000 females aged 35-39 years, and 12.0 per 1,000 for females aged 40-44 years.
DURATION OF MARRIAGE FOR DIVORCING COUPLES
Median duration to separation and divorce, Australia
The median duration of marriage to both separation and divorce has been increasing over time. However in 2006, although the median duration of marriage to separation has continued to rise the median duration of marriage to divorce has decreased slightly from 2005.
In 2006, the median duration of marriage to separation was 8.9 years an increase from 8.8 years in 2005 and from 1996 when the median duration of marriage to separation was 7.6 years. The median duration of marriage to divorce has been steadily increasing from a low of 10.1 years in 1988 and 1990 to 11 years in 1996 and a high of 12.6 years in 2005. The median duration of marriage in Australia shortened to 12.5 years in 2006.
The gap between the median duration of marriage to separation and median duration of marriage to divorce is also increasing over time. The difference has increased from 2.9 years in 1986 to 3.4 years in 1996 and although it peaked at 3.8 years in 2005, the difference (3.6 years) in 2006 is consistent with the longer term divergence.
In 2006, 5.9% of divorces involved separation within the first year of marriage, 32.5% within the first five years and a further 21.7% of divorcing couples separated within five to nine years of marriage. In 2006, 45.7% of divorcing couples separated after 10 years of marriage.
Of the divorcing couples in 2006, 15.5% were married less than five years, 24.9% between five and nine years and 59.6% were married for 10 years or more. In 2006, 16.3% couples who divorced had been married for 25 years or more compared with 16.5% in 2005.
In 2006, the shortest median durations of marriage to separation and marriage to divorce occurred in divorces granted in New South Wales (7.7 years and 11.2 years respectively). The longest median durations occurred in divorces granted in South Australia (10.2 years and 13.8 years).
APPLICANT FOR DIVORCE
Type of applicant, Australia
As in previous years, more females (40.0%) than males (29.5%) lodged applications for divorce in 2006. Over time there has been an increase in the number of joint applications for divorce. In 2006, 30.3% of divorces were the result of joint applications, up from 28.5% in 2005, 21.5% in 1996 and 7.4% in 1986.
The median duration of marriage to divorce was shorter for joint applicants and female applicants (both 11.9 years) than for male applicants (14.2 years).
There was a wide difference in joint applications as a proportion of all divorces, within state and territories. Western Australia had the highest proportion of joint applications (40.5% of divorces) while the lowest proportion was for divorces granted in Tasmania (22.7% of applicants). However, most states have between 25% and 35% joint applications.
DIVORCES INVOLVING CHILDREN
Proportion of divorces involving children, Australia
Over the last 20 years, the proportion of divorces involving children under 18 years has decreased from 59.7% in 1986 and 53.6% in 1996 to 50.1% in 2006. The number of children involved in divorce in 2006 (48,396) decreased 1.9% from 49,358 in 2005 and 7.7% from 52,455 in 1996 and is 7.0% higher compared with 1986 (45,231).
In 43.0% of divorces involving children in 2006, there were two children involved compared with 37.5% involving only one child, 14.8% involving three and 4.7% involving four or more children.
Of divorces involving children aged below 18 in 2006, the age of the youngest child was over 10 years for 40.0% of divorces, 5 to 9 years for 36.2% and less than 5 years for 23.8%.
In 2006, the state or territory with the highest proportion of divorces involving children was Tasmania (53.4%), followed by South Australia (53.1%) and the Queensland (52.4%). The state or territory with the lowest proportion of divorces involving children was New South Wales with 47.0%.
COUNTRY OF BIRTH OF DIVORCING PARTIES
In 2006, 53.4% of divorces granted were to couples who were both born in Australia. This proportion has been decreasing steadily since 2001 when they accounted for 58.1% of all divorced couples.
Divorces to couples born in the same overseas country accounted for 13.8% of divorces granted in 2006. Divorces granted to couples who were born in different countries accounted for 28.1% of total divorces.
Of those couples who had chosen a partner from a different country, 41.6% (6,003) were overseas-born males divorcing Australian-born females, and 36.9% (5,325) were overseas-born females divorcing Australian-born males.
For divorces granted in 2006, the most common countries of birth other than Australia, for both husbands and wives were the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Viet Nam and China. These birth places accounted for 43.8% of overseas born husbands and 43.2% of overseas born wives who were granted a divorce in 2006. These data are relatively consistent with the most common places of birth of Australian residents. United Kingdom, New Zealand, China and Viet Nam were ranked first, second, third and fifth in terms of overseas born populations resident in Australia in 2006.
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