Historic decrease in marriages in 2020
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.
“So there were just under eighty-thousand marriages registered in 2020, and that was a decrease of about thirty per cent compared to 2019. That was, actually, the largest year on year decrease that we’ve (the ABS) reported, and the pandemic prevented a lot of marriages from going ahead, with total marriage numbers actually falling to levels not seen since 1961.”
“There's no doubt that the pandemic impacted on people's marriage plans. What we can actually see in the data is that the marriage numbers fell in late March as the lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings and travel were introduced, and those numbers stayed low throughout the winter and spring months.”
“So all states and territories recorded a decrease in marriage numbers in 2020. The largest decrease was for Victoria at just under forty-two per cent and that state, obviously, also experienced the longest period of COVID-19 restrictions, while marriage numbers in the ACT decreased the least at just under thirteen per cent.”
“So despite the pandemic, almost eighty-thousand couples managed to push ahead with their marriage plans. Interestingly, the tenth of the tenth, the tenth of October, was the most popular day for a marriage in 2020 with close to two-thousand two-hundred weddings, while the extra leap year day, the twenty-ninth of February was also popular, the fifth most popular with just over fifteen-hundred weddings.”
“There were just under fifty-thousand divorces in 2020, that’s around a thousand more than in 2019. It’s definitely worth noting that divorces are only reported once finalised, and that has to come 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 data-sets.”
- When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
- For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via email@example.com (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
- Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.