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Marriages and Divorces, Australia

National and state statistics on marriages and divorces, including same-sex couples, presented by age, duration and rates

Reference period
2019

Key statistics

  • In 2019, 113,815 marriages were registered and 49,116 divorces were granted in Australia.
  • There were 5,507 same-sex marriages in 2019, accounting for 4.8% of all marriages.

  • Provisional data released for January to June 2020 shows a 31.9% decrease in marriages. See 'article' for more information.

Marriages

Number of marriages

There were 113,815 registered marriages in Australia in 2019, a decrease of 5,373 (4.5%) compared to 2018 (119,188). 

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  1. There are a range of administrative factors that affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See 'Considerations when interpreting 2019 and time-series data' in Methodology.
  2. Care should be taken when interpreting 2004 data. In 2004 marriage registrations were sampled for NSW, Vic, Qld and SA, while the other states were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. For an explanation and calculation of the sampling error see the Technical Note in Marriages, Australia, 2004.
  3. In 2012 and 2013, the Victorian marriage data contributing to totals were compiled using a sampling method. Caution is advised when interpreting marriages data for 2012 and 2013, as this includes estimates for Victoria.

Crude marriage rate

In 2019, Australia's crude marriage rate was 4.5 marriages per 1,000 estimated resident population. The crude marriage rate has decreased over time, from:

  • 5.5 marriages per 1,000 persons in 2009; and
  • 6.0 marriages per 1,000 persons in 1999.
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  1. Crude marriage rates reflect the number of marriages registered during the year per 1,000 estimated resident population, as at 30 June for that year. See Glossary and 'Rates and rounding' in Methodology. 
  2. There are a range of administrative factors that affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See 'Considerations when interpreting 2019 and time-series data' in Methodology.
  3. Care should be taken when interpreting 2004 data. In 2004 marriage registrations were sampled for NSW, Vic, Qld and SA, while the other states were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. For an explanation and calculation of the sampling error see the Technical Note in Marriages, Australia, 2004.
  4. In 2012 and 2013, the Victorian marriage data contributing to totals were compiled using a sampling method. Caution is advised when interpreting marriages data for 2012 and 2013, as this includes estimates for Victoria. 

Same-sex marriages

2019 represents the second full year for which same-sex marriage data are available. Amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 enabling same-sex couples to legally marry in Australia came into effect on 9 December 2017. 

In 2019:

  • The number of same-sex marriages was 5,507, a decrease of 1,031 (15.8%) compared to 2018. 
  • Same-sex marriages represented 4.8% of all marriages in Australia. 
  • More female same-sex couples married (58.9% of all same-sex marriages) than male same-sex couples (41.1%). 
  • 97.1% of same-sex marriages were administered by a civil celebrant (5,347 marriages).
  • For couples in same-sex marriages the median age for males was 39.3 years, and for females it was 36.5 years.
Same-sex marriages, 2018 and 2019 (a)
20182019
Male same-sex marriages (no.)27572262
Female same-sex marriages (no.)37813243
Total same-sex marriages (no.)65385507
Total marriages (no.)119188113815
Proportion of marriages that were same-sex (%)5.54.8
First marriage both partners (no.)48094201
Civil celebrants (%)98.997.1
Male median age (years)44.939.3
Female median age (years)39.336.5
  1. Same-sex marriage data exclude marriages registered for which one or both parties of the marriage did not identify as male or female. See 'Classifications' in Methodology.

Age at marriage

The median age at marriage in 2019 was 32.3 years of age for males and 30.5 years of age for females.

Since 2009, median age at marriage:

  • has increased from 31.5 to 32.3 years of age for males.
  • has increased from 29.2 to 30.5 years of age for females.

This includes those marrying for the first time, as well as those remarrying after being widowed or divorced. 

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  1. There are a range of administrative factors that affect the timeliness of marriages being registered in a given year. See 'Considerations when interpreting 2019 and time-series data' in Methodology.
  2. Care should be taken when interpreting 2004 data. In 2004 marriage registrations were sampled for NSW, Vic, Qld and SA, while the other states were fully enumerated. Sampled forms were subject to full processing. For an explanation and calculation of the sampling error see the Technical Note in Marriages, Australia, 2004.
  3. In 2012 and 2013, the Victorian marriage data contributing to totals were compiled using a sampling method. Caution is advised when interpreting marriages data for 2012 and 2013, as this includes estimates for Victoria. 
  4. There are a very small number of same-sex marriages included in data for 2017. Where data are presented by sex for 2017, a small number of males are included in data for females and vice versa. 
  5. Marriage data by sex exclude data for which the person did not identify as male or female.

In 2019:

  • Nearly one-third (33.1%) of females who married did so between the ages of 25 and 29, and a further 23.6% married between the ages of 30 and 34.
  • Over one-quarter (27.9%) of males who married were aged between 25 and 29, and a further quarter (26.2%) married between the ages of 30 and 34. 
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  1. The minimum age at which a person can legally marry in Australia is 16 years. See 'Marriages and divorces legislation' in Methodology. 
  2. Marriage data by sex exclude data for which the person did not identify as male or female. 
  3. Perturbation has been applied to marriages data in this publication. Due to perturbation, component cells may not add to published totals. See 'Confidentiality' in Methodology. 

Most popular time of year to marry

In 2019, 94.7% (107,785) of the marriages registered in 2019 also occurred in 2019. For these marriages:

  • March was the most popular month in which to marry (12.6% of couples married in March).
  • Spring was the most popular season in which to marry, with 32.4% of couples marrying between September and November.
  • Saturday 19 October was the most popular day on which to marry, with 1,976 couples tying the knot that day. 
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  1. The data presented in this graph is based on the year in which the marriage occurred, rather than the year in which it was registered. A proportion of marriages occur in a given year but are not registered until subsequent years. Care should be taken in interpreting 2019 occurrence data, particularly for December, as marriage counts are expected to increase with further processing.
  2. Perturbation has been applied to marriages data in this publication. Due to perturbation, component cells may not add to published totals. See 'Confidentiality' in Methodology.

Popularity of marriage month varies by state and territory. For marriages registered in 2019 which also occurred in 2019:

  • March was the most popular month in which to marry for those who wed in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
  • July was the most popular month to wed in the Northern Territory.
  • September was most popular for Queensland weddings.
  • November was the most popular month in which to marry in South Australia.  

State and territory data

Marriage statistics are presented by the state or territory in which the marriage was registered, rather than the state or territory of usual residence of the couple. In 2019:

  • All states and territories recorded a decrease in marriages compared with 2018, with the exception of the Northern Territory.
  • South Australia recorded the greatest proportional decrease in marriages, down by 8.0% (616 marriages).
Marriages, state and territory of registration, 2018 and 2019 (a)
NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.
201840583301522364177411221924977951562119188
201939596286342215271251166123858051461113815
Change (no.)-987-1518-1489-616-558-11210-101-5373
Change (%)-2.4-5.0-6.3-8.0-4.6-4.51.3-6.5-4.5
2019 same-sex marriages(b) (no.)20041385103031052713038765507
Proportion of 2019 marriages that were same-sex(b) (%)5.14.84.64.44.55.54.75.24.8
  1. Marriage data are based on the state or territory of registration rather than state or territory of usual residence of the couple. See 'Considerations when interpreting 2019 and time-series data' in Methodology.
  2. Same-sex marriage data exclude marriages registered for which one or both parties of the marriage did not identify as male or female. See 'Classifications' in Methodology.  

Registered relationships

Most state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages provide couples an alternative to marriage in the form of a relationship register. Registers are available to adults who are in a relationship as a couple, regardless of sex. 

A relationship register provides legal proof of a relationship, which may be helpful for:

  • tax purposes;
  • superannuation and government payments;
  • providing next-of-kin status to funeral directors; and
  • medical emergencies. 

Registered relationships are not included in marriage statistics. However, each state and territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that has a relationship register provides counts of registered relationships to the ABS. These counts provide a more holistic picture of how relationships are legalised. Currently Western Australia and the Northern Territory are the only jurisdictions without a register. 

When considering the states/territories with a relationship register at the time, registered relationships as a proportion of all legal relationships (that is, registered relationships plus marriages) has increased over time, from 9.2% in 2015 to 16.4% in 2019. 

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  1. Data in this graph reflect the number of registered relationships as a proportion of all legal relationships (that is, the sum of registered relationships and registered marriages). 
  2. Jurisdictions with a relationship register include New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. South Australia introduced their relationship register in August 2017 and therefore numbers for this state are only included in 2018 and 2019.

Divorces

Number and rate of divorces

  • There were 49,116 divorces granted in Australia in 2019. 
  • This represented a crude divorce rate of 1.9 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population. 
  • The divorce rate has decreased over time. It was 2.8 divorces granted per 1,000 persons in 1999. 
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  1. Crude divorce rates reflect the number of divorces granted during the calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population as at 30 June for that year. See Glossary and 'Rates and rounding' in Methodology.
     

Median age

For those marriages that end in divorce, the median age at marriage has increased over time, and so too has the age at separation and divorce. The median age at divorce is now:

  • 45.9 years for males (compared to 40.9 years in 1999) and;
  • 43.1 years for females (compared to 38.2 in 1999).
Median age at marriage, separation and divorce, Males, 1999, 2009 and 2019 (a)
199920092019
At marriage26.228.129.4
At separation37.640.742.0
At divorce40.944.445.9
  1. Data for 2019 includes same-sex divorces which could not be identified separately when calculating median age by sex. As a result, the median age for males contains age information for 70 females. Due to the small numbers involved, there is minimal impact on output.
Median age at marriage, separation and divorce, Females, 1999, 2009 and 2019 (a)
199920092019
At marriage23.725.527.1
At separation34.938.039.3
At divorce38.241.543.1
  1. Data for 2019 includes same-sex divorces which could not be identified separately when calculating median age by sex. As a result, the median age for females contains age information for 34 males. Due to the small numbers involved, there is minimal impact on output.

 

Age-specific divorce rates

  • For males, the highest divorce rate was for those in the 45-49 year age group, with 9.3 divorces per 1,000 population.
  • For females, those aged 40-44 years had the highest divorce rate, with 9.1 divorces per 1,000 population. 
  • In the younger age groups (those under 45 years), the crude divorce rate was higher for females. 
  • In the older age groups (those aged 45 years or more), the crude divorce rate was higher for males. 
  • The greatest rate difference between the sexes was amongst those aged 55-59 years - for males there were 6.6 divorces per 1,000 population in this age group, compared to 4.9 divorces per 1,000 population for females.  
     
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  1. Age-specific divorce rates reflect the number of males or females in a specific age group who were granted a divorce during the year, per 1,000 estimated resident population of males or females in the same age group, at 30 June for that year. There are a small number of persons aged under 16 years included in divorces data, who were legally married overseas. These persons are included in the 16-24 year age group when calculating rates. See 'Rates and rounding' in Methodology. 
  2. Same-sex couples could not be identified separately when calculating age-specific divorce rates by sex. The rates for males presented in this graph include age information for 70 females, and the rates for females include age information for 34 males. Due to the small numbers involved, there is minimal impact on output.

Duration of marriage for couples who divorce

The median duration of marriage to:

  • separation was 8.5 years in 2019 compared to 7.9 years in 1999; and
  • divorce was 12.2 years in 2019 compared to 11.3 years in 1999. 
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The graph below shows the proportion of divorces by duration of marriage for 1999 and 2019. In 2019, there was a lower proportion of divorces where the marriage lasted between 1 and 4 years and a higher proportion of divorces where the marriage lasted 30 years or more. 

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Same-sex divorces

Following amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 in late 2017, same-sex couples can now access the Australian divorce system. The Family Court of Australia have provided counts of same-sex divorces to the ABS. 

In 2019:

  • There were 104 divorces of same-sex couples. This represented less than one per cent of all divorces.
  • 34 same-sex divorces were of male same-sex couples, and 70 were of female same-sex couples. 

Data downloads

Marriages (Australia)

Marriages (states and territories)

Divorces

All data cubes

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3310.0