Australians are marrying later, living together before marriage and divorcing less compared to 20 years ago, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures on marriages and divorces.
Marriages between two Australian-born people have gradually decreased over the last 20 years, with the proportion of marriages between two people born in Australia decreasing from 72.9 per cent in 2006 to 54.5 per cent of all marriages in 2016.
Marriages between two people born in the same overseas country have increased from 9.1 per cent in 2006 to 13.9 per cent in 2016. Marriages of people born in different countries accounted for 31.6 per cent of all marriages in 2016 compared with 18 per cent in 2006.
The majority of people lived together prior to marrying, increasing by over 16 per cent over the last two decades to 80 per cent of couples.
“The age of couples marrying for the first time has risen over the past 20 years, with the groom now likely to be closer to 30 years (27.6 in 1996 compared to 30.3 in 2016) and the bride in her late 20s (25.7 in 1996 compared to 28.7 in 2016),” Justine Boland from the ABS explained.
Data also showed the number of religious marriage ceremonies has continued to decline over 20 years with a preference for civil marriage ceremonies.
In addition to this, in many states and territories relationship registers have continued to grow as an alternative to marriage, with 10.8 per cent of all relationships now being formalised.
Over the last five years, the proportion of those couples legalising their relationships in a registered relationship has more than doubled.
“The research also shows that over the past 20 years the number of divorces granted peaked in 2001 at 55,330, and 15 years later in 2016 divorces have decreased by 16 per cent to 46,604. Those (who) divorce are staying married longer than 20 years ago, with couples that separate being married for 12 years on average,” Ms Boland said.
“The age for marriage after a divorce is now mid to late 40s for both males and females.”
Queensland continues to have the highest divorce rate of 2.2 divorces per 1000 estimated resident population, while the Northern Territory had the lowest divorce rate at 1.3 per 1000 estimated resident population.
As in 2015, Tasmania has continued to have the highest median ages at divorce for males and females in 2016. The median age at divorce for males was 48.1 years in Tasmania and for females, the median age at divorce was 45.6 years.
Queensland and Western Australia have reported the highest proportion of all divorces involving children, at 49.4 per cent and 48.3 per cent respectively, taking over from the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania in 2015. New South Wales (44.8 per cent) and Tasmania (45.6 per cent) reported the lowest proportion of divorces involving children.
Why do you think divorce rates are dropping in Australia? Why do you think Queenslanders divorce at a higher rate than couples in the Northern Territory?