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Statistics Don’t Lie: Marriage and Divorce Rate in Australia

marriage and divorce rate australia | Justice Family Lawyers

The pandemic has finally ended, and people around the globe are back to living their normal lives.

Marriages that were put on halt are now turning into reality. With the restrictions put to rest, those who got engaged before and during the pandemic caused a spike in the number of marriages officiated in Australia.

Where there is marriage, of course, there is also divorce. Like marriages, those divorce applications that were put on halt resumed after the lifting of restrictions.

Let’s find out the latest statistics on the Marriage and Divorce Rate in Australia for 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Marriage Key Statistics for 2022:

  • In 2022, Australia recorded its highest number of marriage registrations at 127,161, marking a significant increase from the previous years affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (78,987 in 2020 and 89,167 in 2021).
  • The crude marriage rate for 2022 was 6.1 marriages per 1,000 eligible individuals, a recovery from the five years prior but still below pre-2015 levels.
  • The average age for marriage in 2022 was 32.5 years for men and 30.9 years for women, indicating a slight increase compared to previous years.
  • Marriages among same-sex couples increased in 2022 but did not exceed the numbers from 2018 and 2019.
  • Only 56% of Australia’s adult population was married or in a partnership in 2022.
  • Among those in relationships, 59% were men, and 53% were women. Thirty percent of Australian women had never been married.
  • New South Wales and Victoria saw significant increases in marriage numbers in 2022, with increases of 65% and 77%, respectively.
  • From 2018 to 2022, the median duration of marriage before separation in Australia ranged between 8.4 and 8.9 years, with the duration to divorce ranging from 12.1 to 12.8 years.

Marriage Rate

In 2022, Australia saw a historic peak in marriage registrations, tallying 127,161, the highest number ever recorded. This surge represents a significant rebound following the downturn in marriage numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, which saw only 78,987 and 89,167 marriages, respectively.

The previous peak before 2022 was in 2012 with 123,243 marriages. The crude marriage rate for 2022 was 6.1 marriages per 1,000 eligible individuals (aged 16 and over), which, while an uptick compared to the five preceding years, remains less than the rates before 2015.

Additionally, the median age at marriage has slightly increased, with men marrying at an average age of 32.5 and women at 30.9 in 2022. Marriages among same-sex couples also rose in 2022 yet did not surpass the figures from 2018 and 2019.

Table: Selected Marriage Indicators, 2018-2022

YearTotal Marriages RegisteredCrude Marriage Rate (per 1,000 people)% Change in Marriages from Previous YearMedian Age at Marriage: MaleMedian Age at Marriage: FemaleMale Same-Gender MarriagesFemale Same-Gender Marriages
2018119,1866.032.430.52,7573,784
2019113,8155.6-4.5%32.330.52,2603,245
202078,9873.8-30.6%32.230.61,1161,785
202189,1674.3+12.9%32.130.51,0751,770
2022127,1616.1+42.7%32.530.91,7672,667

This table encapsulates the fluctuating dynamics of marriage in Australia from 2018 to 2022, highlighting the recovery post-pandemic and indicating trends in marital age and same-sex unions.

How Many Australians are married in 2022?

Despite the common perception that most adults are in committed relationships, recent statistics reveal that only a slight majority (56%) of Australia’s adult population is married or in a partnership. This finding challenges the often-held belief that marriage or partnership is a common ground among adults.

Here’s a list of other facts about Australian couples in 2022:

  • Among those in relationships or marriages, 59% are men, and 53% are women.
  • A notable 30% of Australian women have never been married; other figures include 9% divorced, 3% widowed, and 3% separated.
  • The median marriage age has risen over the last five years to 32.5 years for men and 30.9 years for women.
  • Baby Boomers are the generation most likely to be married or in a relationship at 64%.
  • Gen Z has the highest percentage of unmarried individuals, with 61% having never been married.
  • South Australia has the highest percentage of married or partnered adults at 59%.
  • Victoria has the highest rate of single adults, with 32% having never been married.
  • New South Wales and Victoria experienced significant increases in marriage numbers in 2022, with 65% and 77% increases, respectively, attributed to post-COVID recoveries.
  • Also read: Can You Divorce Your Parents in Australia?

How Many Australians Got Married in 2022 According to State or Territory?

State20212022% Increase
NSW27,31444,95364.6%
VIC18,74033,23177.2%
QLD21,62725,01415.6%
WA10,30511,2379.0%
SA6,7787,2687.2%
TAS2,3282,82121.2%
ACT1,2791,81842.1%
NT7968192.9%

What is the Average Length of Marriage in Australia from 2018 to 2022?

In recent years, from 2018 to 2022, the median duration of marriage before separation in Australia hovered around 8.5 to 8.9 years, showing a slight upward trend in stability. In comparison, the median duration of divorce slightly varied from 12.1 to 12.8 years, also indicating a modest increase by 2022. 

Table: Median Duration of Marriage in Australia (2018-2022)

YearTo Separation (years)To Divorce (years)
20188.512.2
20198.612.3
20208.412.1
20218.412.2
20228.912.8

This table emphasizes the gradual increase in the longevity of marriages in Australia, contrasting with the shorter durations observed in past decades.

Also read: Change of Name After Divorce

Key Statistics on Divorce for 2022:

  • Divorce Rate: The most recent divorce rate in Australia is 2.4 divorces per 1,000 Australian residents.
  • Divorces Granted in 2021: A total of 56,244 divorces were granted in 2021, impacting approximately 26,879 children.
  • Applicant Types (2022):
    • Male applicants: 11,415
    • Female applicants: 12,730
    • Joint applicants: 25,094
  • Marriage and Divorce Totals (2003-2022):
    • Total marriages: 2,275,690
    • Total divorces: 994,918
  • New South Wales (NSW) has the highest number of divorces in 2022 (14,661), which can be interpreted as having the highest divorce rate among all states.
  • 10.8% of marriages in Australia are second marriages, and 60% of them end in divorce.

Also read: World’s Highest and Lowest Divorce Rates 2023

The Divorce Rate in Australia: Trends and Statistics

The divorce rate in Australia has been a subject of interest and concern for many years. Understanding the trends and statistics surrounding divorce can provide valuable insights into the state of marriages and families in the country.

Recent Divorce Rate

The most recent data on the divorce rate in Australia indicates 2.4 divorces for every 1,000 Australian residents, including same-sex couple divorces. This figure reflects the prevalence of divorce within the Australian population and underscores the impact of marital dissolution on families and individuals.

YearDivorcesCrude Divorce Rate
201849,6742.5
201948,5822.4
202049,5102.4
202156,2442.7
202249,2412.4

The pandemic year of 2021 saw a spike in divorces, attributed to heightened strains on relationships. However, the rates normalized in 2022, aligning with pre-pandemic figures.

Number of Children Affected by Divorces in 2021

In 2021, a total of 56,244 divorces were granted in Australia. This significant number of divorces had a direct impact on approximately 26,879 children, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of marital breakdowns on the younger generation.

Number of Children Affected by Divorces in Australia from 2017-2021

YearTotal Divorces Involving ChildrenTotal Children Affected
201723,09242,146
201823,62043,012
201922,91241,592
202024,07144,155
202126,87948,432

There has been a decline in the proportion of divorces involving minors, dropping from 68% in 1975 to 47% in 2014, with a minor rise to 48% by 2021.

While specific data for 2022 isn’t available, the observed decline in overall divorce rates for that year might suggest a potential decrease in the number of children affected. However, without concrete data, this remains speculative.

Divorce Application

Traditionally, women have filed for more divorces than men in Australia, but the emergence of joint divorce applications has shifted this dynamic.

In 2022, joint applications represented over half of all filings. That year, 12,730 divorces were initiated by women, marking a notable decrease from previous years and a steeper decline than that observed for men. Although historically, women have been more likely to initiate divorce, in 2021, men surpassed women in this regard for the first time in five years.

However, by 2022, the pattern of more women initiating divorces resumed. The growing prevalence of joint applications complicates identifying the initiating party.

Furthermore, the acknowledgment of same-sex marriages and the option to record non-binary genders may influence future data collection and analysis on this subject.

The breakdown of divorce applicants in 2022 reveals the following distribution:

  • Male applicants: 11,415
  • Female applicants: 12,730
  • Joint applicants: 25,094

These figures shed light on the gender distribution of individuals seeking divorce, emphasizing the diverse experiences and circumstances that lead couples to pursue the legal dissolution of their marriages.

The data on the type of divorce applicants in Australia from 2018 to 2022 offers valuable insights into the dynamics of divorce filings over these years. Here’s a detailed analysis:

Type of Divorce Applications in Australia (2018-2022)

YearMaleFemaleJoint
201812,23915,48921,946
201911,48314,09123,008
202011,23014,19024,090
202114,39614,10627,739
202211,41512,73025,094

The prevalence of joint applications might indicate a broader shift in societal attitudes toward divorce, emphasizing cooperation and mutual agreement. The fluctuating numbers of male and female applicants highlight the variability in who initiates divorce proceedings, which myriad factors, including economic conditions, societal pressures, and personal circumstances, could influence.

Marriage and Divorce Totals (2003-2022)

Examining the aggregated data from 2003 to 2022 provides a comprehensive overview of the state of marriages and divorces in Australia during this period:

  • Total marriages: 2,275,690
  • Total divorces: 994,918

These figures illustrate the scale of both marriages and divorces in Australia over the past two decades, offering valuable insights into the dynamics of relationships and family structures within the country.

Below is a detailed presentation of the provided divorce statistics per state in Australia for the years 2020 through 2022, highlighting the trends and changes in divorce rates across different regions.

Divorce Statistics per State in Australia (2020-2022)

Table: Annual Divorce Counts by State

State202020212022
NSW14,02317,12614,661
Vic.11,80612,76611,783
Qld11,82413,47511,410
SA3,2983,8633,046
WA5,7125,9895,718
Tas.1,0181,142977

Analysis and Insights

  • Yearly Trends: The data indicates a general decrease in divorce counts from 2021 to 2022 across most states, reflecting the broader national trend of a declining crude divorce rate.
  • Based on the divorce statistics provided for the years 2020 through 2022, New South Wales (NSW) recorded the highest number of divorce applications among all Australian states in each of these years. In 2022, for instance, NSW reported 14,661 divorce applications, which was the highest count compared to any other state for that year.

Divorce and Remarriage

In Australia, approximately 10.8% of all marriages are second marriages. This means that out of every 100 marriages, 10.8% are between individuals who have been previously married.

However, the divorce rate for second marriages in Australia is significantly higher than first marriages, with around 60% of second marriages ending in divorce.

This statistic highlights the challenges individuals face when entering a second marriage, including the pressures of blending families, financial issues, and emotional baggage from previous relationships.

It is important for those considering a second marriage to be aware of these challenges and seek support to ensure a successful and fulfilling relationship.

Got questions about the divorce process in Australia?

Let our expert family lawyers at Justice Family Lawyers guide you through this challenging time with compassion and expertise.

With a dedicated team specializing in family law, we offer personalized support and clear legal advice to protect your interests and achieve a favorable outcome.

Start your journey towards a new beginning with confidence. Contact Justice Family Lawyers today and empower yourself with the right legal representation.

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