Historic decrease in marriages in 2020

Media Release

78,989 marriages were registered in Australia in 2020, a 30.6 per cent decrease compared with 2019, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Health and Vital Statistics, James Eynstone-Hinkins, said 2020 saw the largest annual decrease in registered marriages ever reported by the ABS, and the lowest number of registrations reported since 1961.

“Marriage numbers fell in late March as lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings and travel bans impacted marriage plans, with numbers then remaining low throughout winter and spring.”

“All states and territories recorded a decrease in marriage numbers in 2020. The largest decrease was for Victoria at 41.9 per cent with the state also experiencing the longest period of COVID-19 restrictions, while marriage numbers in the Australian Capital Territory decreased the least at just 12.7 per cent.”

While total numbers of marriages were well down, nearly 80,000 couples still managed to tie the knot, with a couple of key dates proving popular.

“Saturday 10 October 2020 (10/10) was the most common day for a wedding in 2020 with 2,191 weddings celebrated,” Mr Eynstone-Hinkins said.

“A further 1,517 couples took the opportunity to get married on the leap year day of Saturday 29 February, the fifth most common day to marry in 2020 and one which is sure to save those couples on future anniversary gifts.”

The divorce rate remained stable in 2020 at 1.9 divorces per 1,000 people with only a small increase in numbers (49,510 compared with 48,582 in 2019).

Divorces are only reported once finalised after a period of separation of at least one year, so any changes to the divorce rate that might be related to the pandemic will only be seen in future years.

Media notes

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