Source: The Mercury, 31 July 1997, p.7
By KATE HANNON in Canberra THE rate of marriage among Australians has plummeted in the 10 years to 1996 while the divorce rate has sky- rocketed. About 8% of all marriages in Australia are doomed to end in divorce within five years of marriage and 19% are expected to end within 10 years. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that remar- riage following divorce had the highest risk of failure. New ABS figures on mar- riage and divorce released yesterday show Australia's marriage rate for 1996 of 5.8 per 1000 people is the lowest this century. Last year, 52,500 couples were granted a divorce, the highest number since 63,200 were divorced after the intro- duction of the Family Law Act in 1976. From the mar- riage ceremony to divorce, the median length of mar- riages was between 10 and 11 years, with separation occur- ring after about seven years. Among the divorces last year, 37% of couples separ- ated in the first five years after the wedding. More couples, 22% last year, were lodging joint appli- cations for divorce compared with 7% 10 years ago. However, wives are still more likely to apply for a divorce, particularly when children are involved. Last year there were 106,100 marriages in Aust- ralia, the lowest number since 1979, when 104,400 marriages were registered. The marriage rate per 1000 people was previously at its lowest in the Depression with six marriages per 1000 popu- lation. The highest rate this century was 12 marriages per 1000 population in 1942. Couples are waiting longer before getting married and the number of people who have never married grew from 25% in 1976 to 31% in 1996. The median marrying age has also grown in 1996, with men waiting until they are 29.6 years and women until they are 27.2, an increase of 4.7 years for men and five for women compared with 20 years ago. The proportion of divorced Australians was 2% in 1976 compared with 7% last year. The median divorce age for men in 1996 was 40.2 years and 37.4 years for women. Men were increasingly likely to marry after they turned 30 with 32% entering into their first marriage at that age compared with 11% in 1976. Last year, 20% of women entering into marriage for the first time were over 30 compared with 6% in 1976.
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Reduction
Index - Number
Main Index - Numeracy in the News