Wedding plans disrupted again in 2021

Media Release

There were 89,164 couples who married in 2021, with registrations well below pre-pandemic levels for the second year running, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

James Eynstone-Hinkins, ABS Director of Health and Vital Statistics, said after the record low 78,989 weddings in 2020, marriage numbers recovered in early 2021 before the Delta wave of the COVID-19 pandemic once again interrupted wedding plans.

“Marriage numbers in Victoria and New South Wales were particularly affected from June and July 2021 onwards as public health restrictions were stepped up. As a result, marriage registrations in 2021 were down 34.6 per cent in Victoria and 31.0 per cent in New South Wales when compared with 2019.

“Marriages in other states and territories were less impacted, with numbers in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory almost returning to pre-pandemic levels.”

While the number of marriages registered were down, the characteristics of those marrying remained similar to previous years. In 2021, the median age of males who married was 32.1 years and females 30.5 years. Just over 80 per cent of marriages registered in 2021 were administered by civil celebrants.

Meanwhile, there were 56,244 divorces granted in 2021. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia advised the increased number of divorces compared with previous years was in part due to administrative changes that increased finalisations in 2021. Most divorces granted in 2021 resulted from separations prior to the pandemic. 

In 2021, there were 2,842 same-sex marriages registered and 473 same-sex divorces granted. Female couples accounted for almost two thirds of same-sex marriages and divorces (62.3 and 64.7 per cent respectively).

Comprehensive data and analysis can be found in Marriages and Divorces, Australia, available for free download from the ABS website.

Media notes

  • The number of marriages referenced in this media release are marriage registrations in a calendar year.
  • When reporting ABS data, you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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