COVID-19 puts brakes on marriages in 2020: Australia

The number of marriages fell by more than 30 per cent in the first six months of 2020, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Provisional data for 2020 showed that around 38,000 marriages occurred between January and June compared to an average of 55,000 over the past five years.

James Eynstone-Hinkins, Director of the ABS Health and Vital Statistics Section, said COVID-19 restrictions including social distancing requirements, size limits on gatherings and travel restrictions were all likely to have made couples reconsider their marriage plans.

“Despite the restrictions, nearly 10,000 weddings went ahead between April and June 2020,” Mr Eynstone-Hinkins said.

“Marriages that occurred between April and June 2020 were slightly less likely to be first time marriages and it was less likely that both partners were born in Australia.”

The provisional 2020 data has been released alongside final 2019 marriage and divorce data.

There were 113,815 marriages registered in 2019, a decrease of 4.5 per cent since 2018. Over the past decade the marriage rate has decreased from 5.5 to 4.5 marriages per 1,000 people.

There was also a slight decrease in 2019 in the number of divorces granted (49,116) down from 49,404 in 2018. Divorce rates have also decreased over a decade from 2.3 to 1.9 divorces per 1,000 people.

The data, released as part of Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2019, also showed that the most popular season to marry was Spring (32 per cent of all marriages), the most popular month was March and the most popular day was Saturday 19 October, with 1,976 couples tying the knot.

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