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3306.0.55.001 - Marriages, Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/12/2004   
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Note the following change has been made to this document on 10/12/2004

Original text: published on 8/12/2004


In 2003 there were 106,400 marriages registered in Australia, an increase of 3,300 (3%) when compared with 2002, and the first increase in registered marriages since 1999.


Correction on 10/12/2004:


In 2003 there were 106,400 marriages registered in Australia, an increase of 960 when compared with 2002, and continuing the increase in the number of marriages since the low of 103,130 in 2001.


NOTES


ABOUT THIS PRODUCT

This electronic product, Marriages, Australia 2003 (cat. no. 3306.0.55.001) provides information on marriages registered in Australia. Key indicators of marriages at the national and state level are included in the analytical commentary below. Detailed marriage tables are available for purchase in a data cube. The data cube can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of this page and following the data cube link for 2003. A glossary of terms and explanatory notes about marriage statistics can be accessed using the web-links provided on this page.


This product replaces Marriages and Divorces, Australia (cat.no. 3310.0). Information on divorces from 2002 onwards is available in the electronic product, Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001).



UNAVAILABILITY OF DATA

Post 2001 Estimated Resident Population (ERP) by marital status is not yet available.



INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.



SUMMARY COMMENTARY


REGISTERED MARRIAGES


In 2003 there were 106,400 marriages registered in Australia, an increase of 960 when compared with 2002, and continuing the increase in the number of marriages since the low of 103,130 in 2001.

Total marriages Australia - 1983-2003
Graph: Total marriages Australia—1983–2003



While 2003 recorded an increase in the number of marriages registered, the crude marriage rate (per 1,000 of population) stabilised at 5.4, the same rate as recorded for 2002. The crude rate has continued to fall for the last two decades dropping from 7.5 in 1983 to 6.4 in 1993. Marriage rates (per 1,000 of unmarried population) have also continued to decline over the last two decades, as illustrated in the graph below. In 1983 marriage rates were 55 (males, per 1,000 of population) and 53 (females, per 1,000 of population), by 2001 this had fallen to 31 (males, per 1,000 of population) and 28 (females, per 1,000 of population).

MARRIAGE RATES(a)
Graph: MARRIAGE RATES(a)




MARRIAGE CELEBRANTS

The decline in the number of Australians choosing a religious celebrant for their wedding ceremony has continued. In 2003 over half of Australian marriages were presided over by civil celebrants, confirming a trend which has seen the steady growth of civil ceremonies from 39% of all marriages in 1983 to 42% in 1993 and 57% in 2003.

MARRIAGES PERFORMED BY CIVIL CELEBRANTS
Graph: MARRIAGES PERFORMED BY CIVIL CELEBRANTS




AGE AT MARRIAGE

The trend towards older age at marriage continued in 2003. The median age at marriage for men was 31 years, rising from 29 years in 1993. For women the median age at marriage rose to 29 years from 26 years in 1993.


The median age at first marriage has increased for men from 27 years in 1993 to 29 years in 2003, and for women from 25 years to 27 years.



COHABITATION PRIOR TO MARRIAGE

Marriage data for 2003 confirms the thirty year trend for more Australian couples to cohabit prior to entering a registered marriage. In 1975 only 16% of couples cohabited prior to marriage, increasing to 27% in 1983, while 75% of couples cohabited prior to marriage in 2003.


In 2003 couples living in Tasmania were the most likely to cohabit before marriage (83% of all marriages) while those in New South Wales were the least likely to cohabit (70% of all marriages).


Widowed males were the least likely to have cohabited before marriage, with divorced males and females the most likely. Only 56% of widowed males and 62% of widows cohabited before marrying their partner, while the proportion of divorced males and females was 81%.



SEASONALITY OF MARRIAGE

In 1973 January, May, October and December were the most popular months for marriage.


In 2003 Australian couples were most likely to marry in March (12%) or November (12%). January weddings have continued to fall in popularity, with only 7% of weddings in 2003, compared with 10% in 1983. The winter months of June and July remain historically unpopular with less than 5% of couples choosing these months in 2003, 5% in 1993 and 6% in 1983.



FIRST MARRIAGES AND REMARRIAGES

In 2003 marriages in which neither party had been previously married comprised 66% of all marriages registered. A further 18% were first marriages for one partner and remarriage for the other, and 15% were remarriages for both partners. These proportions were similar to those recorded in 1983.

Selected marriage indicators(a), Australia - Selected years - 1983-2003

1983
1993
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003

ALL MARRIAGES

Marriages registeredno.
114,860
113,255
110,598
114,316
113,429
103,130
105,435
106,394
Crude marriage rate(b)rate
7.5
6.4
5.9
6.0
5.9
5.3
5.4
5.4
Previous marital status
First marriage both partnersno.
77,762
75,968
73,743
76,440
75,503
68,987
69,861
70,644
First marriage one partnerno.
21,073
21,123
20,705
21,386
21,185
18,889
19,462
19,678
Remarriage both partnersno.
16,025
16,164
16,150
16,490
16,741
15,254
16,112
16,072
Marriages performed by
Ministers of religion
Numberno.
69,638
65,573
55,807
55,720
53,521
48,372
47,400
46,187
Proportion%
60.6
57.9
50.5
48.7
47.2
46.9
45.0
43.4
Civil celebrants
Numberno.
45,222
47,682
54,791
58,596
59,908
54,758
58,035
60,207
Proportion%
39.4
42.1
49.5
51.3
52.8
53.1
55.0
56.6
Relative birthplace of bridegroom and bride(c)
Both born in Australiano.
74,778
72,532
70,883
72,354
72,122
64,373
65,020
65,436
Both born in the same overseas countryno.
7,225
9,021
8,720
9,751
9,262
8,611
9,210
9,502
Born in different countriesno.
32,789
31,695
30,995
32,190
32,032
30,130
31,184
31,444
Cohabitation prior to marriage
Numberno.
na
na
74,374
78,800
80,893
74,244
77,024
79,311
Proportion of all marriages%
na
na
67.2
68.9
71.3
72.0
73.1
74.5

BRIDEGROOM

Age-specific marriage rates
Age groups (years)
19 and underrate
3.9
1.4
1.1
1.1
1.0
0.9
0.8
0.8
20-24rate
62.8
36.3
27.0
27.2
25.6
21.9
21.0
19.2
25-29rate
51.0
53.2
51.3
52.2
51.6
47.2
46.3
46.4
30-34rate
24.2
28.9
31.1
33.1
33.6
30.8
32.4
33.5
35-39rate
13.7
15.0
16.4
17.5
17.3
16.3
17.1
17.5
40-44rate
9.6
9.7
9.8
10.1
10.5
9.7
10.0
10.3
45-49rate
7.2
7.4
7.5
7.7
7.6
7.0
7.4
7.4
50 and overrate
3.7
3.5
3.5
3.6
3.6
3.3
3.5
3.5
Marital status at marriage
Never marriedno.
87,568
85,942
83,508
86,694
85,546
77,849
79,033
79,907
Widowedno.
2,959
2,718
2,348
2,336
2,300
2,084
2,072
2,122
Divorcedno.
24,333
24,595
24,742
25,286
25,583
23,197
24,330
24,365
Totalno.
114,860
113,255
110,598
114,316
113,429
103,130
105,435
106,394
Median age at marriage
Never marriedno.
24.9
27.0
27.9
28.2
28.5
28.7
29.0
29.2
Widowedno.
59.7
62.0
61.4
62.0
62.1
61.9
62.3
62.6
Divorcedno.
36.5
40.4
42.0
42.2
42.7
43.1
43.6
43.6
Totalno.
26.4
28.8
29.8
30.1
30.3
30.6
31.0
31.2

BRIDE

Age-specific marriage rates
Age group (years)
19 and underrate
22.5
7.3
5.3
5.2
5.0
4.2
4.0
3.8
20-24rate
79.2
57.8
45.4
45.6
43.0
37.2
35.8
34.0
25-29rate
36.7
46.4
50.3
52.4
51.9
48.1
48.6
49.2
30-34rate
16.8
21.5
24.3
26.1
27.1
25.5
27.2
28.0
35-39rate
10.0
11.3
12.1
12.9
13.2
12.0
13.0
13.5
40-44rate
7.4
7.4
7.5
8.0
8.1
7.3
7.6
7.9
45-49rate
5.7
5.7
5.9
6.1
6.2
5.7
6.0
5.9
50 and overrate
1.9
1.9
1.9
1.9
2.0
1.8
2.0
2.0
Marital status at marriage
Never marriedno.
89,029
87,117
84,683
87,572
86,645
79,014
80,151
81,059
Widowedno.
3,457
3,099
2,664
2,662
2,543
2,336
2,359
2,326
Divorcedno.
22,374
23,039
23,251
24,082
24,241
21,780
22,925
23,009
Totalno.
114,860
113,255
110,598
114,316
113,429
103,130
105,435
106,394
Median age at marriage
Never marriedno.
22.7
24.8
26.2
26.4
26.7
26.9
27.1
27.3
Widowedno.
52.3
52.8
54.1
53.5
53.9
54.4
55.5
55.8
Divorcedno.
33.4
36.8
38.4
38.6
39.1
39.5
39.8
40.2
Totalno.
23.9
26.4
27.7
27.9
28.3
28.6
28.9
29.1

na not available
(a) See glossary for definitions of terms used.
(b) Per 1,000 population.
(c) Excludes marriages where country of birth of one or both partners is not stated.

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