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Total marriages, 1986-2006, Australia
CRUDE MARRIAGE RATE
The crude marriage rate (per 1,000 of estimated residential population) increased to 5.5 in 2006, up from 5.4 in 2005. Over the past twenty years the crude marriage rate has been in decline, although it has shown little movement since 2002. The crude marriage rate for Australia in 2006 is 23.6% lower than it was in 1986 (7.2 per 1,000 population), and 5.2% lower than in 1996 (5.8 per 1,000 population).
At a state and territory level, the crude marriage rate increased in 2006 in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, remained steady in Queensland, Tasmania, and Northern Territory and fell slightly in Australian Capital Territory. New South Wales recorded the largest increase from 5.3 in 2005 to 5.6 in 2006.
Queensland has recorded the highest crude marriage rate for 2006 (6.1 per 1,000 population). This has been the case for the last 11 years. Over the last 21 years, the Northern Territory has consistently recorded the lowest crude marriage rate in Australia. In 2006 the Northern Territory rate was 3.8 per 1,000 population, 1.7 below the rate for Australia.
Crude marriage rates, 1986-2006, Australia
AGE AT MARRIAGE
Median Age at Marriage
The median age at marriage for bridegrooms increased from 31.5 in 2005 to 31.6 years in 2006. For brides, the median age remained steady at 29.3 years.
Median age at marriage has been increasing gradually over the past 20 years for both bridegrooms and brides. Since 1986, median age at marriage has increased 4.3 years for bridegrooms and 4.4 years for brides.
In 2006, bridegrooms and brides in Northern Territory were the oldest at time of marriage with a median age of 33.6 years and 30.1 years respectively. Bridegrooms have remained two years above the national median, whereas for brides the difference was only one year above in 2006 . This continues the trend of the past 20 years where Northern Territorians have been the oldest in Australia at time of marriage.
Median age at marriage, Selected years, Australia
The median age at first marriage for bridegrooms has continued to increase in 2006, from 29.5 years in 2005 to 29.6 years in 2006. Median age at first marriage for brides has remained steady at 27.6 years in 2006. In 1986, the respective median ages at first marriage were 25.6 years and 23.5 years.
Median age at first marriage, Selected years, AustraliaAge-specific marriage rates
Age-specific marriage rates are calculated as marriages per 1,000 of estimated resident population as at 30 June each year. In 2006, the peak age group for bridegrooms and brides marrying was 25-29 years (46.3 and 51.6 respectively). In 1986 the peak age group was 20-24 years for bridegrooms (53.5) and brides (73.9 ). In 1996 the peak age group for bridegrooms was 25-29 years (48.8 ) followed by 20-24 years (27.5 ). In 1996 the peak age group for brides was also 25-29 years (46.5) followed closely by the 20-24 year age group (45.9).
The 30-34 and 35-39 year age groups for both bridegrooms and brides have recorded the highest growth since 1986. Bridegrooms in the 30-34 year age group had a marriage rate of 26.0 in 1986, 28.7 in 1996 and 36.7 in 2006. Brides also showed a similar trend with 18.8 in 1986, 22.2 in 1996 and 31.3 in 2006. For the 35-39 year age group bridegrooms were 14.4 in 1986, 15.4 in 1996 and 19.4 in 2006. Marriage rates for brides in this age group were 11.0 in 1986, 11.4 in 1996 and 14.9 in 2006. These trends demonstrate the move towards people marrying later in life.
Age-specific marriage rates, Australia
MARITAL STATUS AT MARRIAGE
The number of marriages registered in 2006 increased across all categories of previous marital status, for both bridegrooms and brides.
The largest increase was in the Never married category, up 3,992 (4.8%) for bridegrooms and 4,307 (5.1%) for brides. Bridegrooms who were previously Never married comprised 76.4% of all bridegrooms in 2006, and brides who were previously Never married comprised 78.1%.
The proportion of bridegrooms previously divorced decreased from 22.1% to 21.9% of all married bridegrooms from 2005 to 2006. For brides, the proportion who had previously been divorced also decreased, down from 20.4% in 2005 to 20.0% in 2006.
The proportion of bridegrooms previously widowed decreased from 1.8% to 1.7% from 2005 to 2006, while the proportion of brides who had previously been widowed remained steady at 1.9%.
Marriages in which neither party had been previously married made up 68.4% (78,178) of all marriages in 2006, while a further 17.6%
(20,122) were first marriages for one partner. The remaining 13.9% of marriages (15,922) were remarriages for both partners.
COHABITATION PRIOR TO MARRIAGE
Of the 114,222 couples who registered a marriage in 2006, 76.1% indicated that they had cohabited prior to registering their marriage. This compares with 64.7% in 1997. Cohabitation before marriage was most likely for those who married in the Northern Territory(85.4% of all marriages) in 2006, and least likely in New South Wales (69.1% of all marriages).
In 2006, 81.2% of bridegrooms in the 35-39 years age group cohabited before marriage compared with 53.1% of bridegrooms aged 19 years and under. Brides in the 30-34 years age group were most likely to cohabit before marriage (81.9%) while brides aged 19 years and under were the least likely (55.3%).
Proportion cohabiting prior to marriage, Australia
In 2006, marriages performed by civil celebrants again outnumbered marriages performed by ministers of religion. This trend commenced in 1999 when 51.3% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. By 2006, this proportion had increased to 61.3%. In comparison, in 1986 only 40.5% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants.
In 2006, couples who cohabit before marrying are more likely to marry in a civil ceremony (68.5%) than those who do not (31.5%) and account for 84.9% of civil ceremonies, similar to 85.1% in 2005.
In 2006, the highest proportion of civil marriages was in the Northern Territory (72.5%). The Northern Territory has had the highest proportion of civil marriages for the past twenty years. Whilst New South Wales had the largest increase in civil marriages, it had the lowest proportion of civil marriages (56.8%).
Of the 44,117 marriages performed by ministers of religion in 2006, the most common rites used were Catholic (32.9%) followed by Anglican (18.2%). Catholic rites were most common in all states except Tasmania, where Anglican rites accounted for 30.5% of religious ceremonies and Catholic rites for 23.3%. Anglican rites were the second most common in all states and territories except Tasmania, where they were the most common rites, and South Australia, where they were third most common after Catholic and Uniting Church.
Category of celebrant, 1986-2006, Australia
COUNTRY OF BIRTH
In 2006, 61.0% of marriages were of couples where both parties were born in Australia. A further 9.0% of marriages were of parties born in the same overseas country, and 30.0% marriages were of males and females born in different countries. In 1986, the comparative proportions were 64.1%, 6.7% and 29.2% respectively.
In 2006, the median age at marriage of bridegrooms and brides born in Australia was 31.2 years and 29.0 years respectively.
Bridegrooms born in Italy and Greece had the highest median age at marriage, 46.5 years and 40.0 years respectively. In contrast, bridegrooms born in India had the lowest median age at marriage (27.9 years). For brides, those born in Italy had the highest median age at marriage (41.6 years) followed by those born in the United Kingdom (35.1 years). In contrast, brides born in Lebanon had the lowest median age at marriage (25.3 years).
Of the countries selected for comparison (refer data cube table 2) Viet Nam had the highest crude marriage rate (12.1 per 1,000 population), followed by Iran (8.9), Mauritius (8.8) and the United States of America (7.8). Australia falls in the mid range with 5.5. The lowest crude marriage rate was recorded by Venezuela(2.8), followed by Panama (3.3), Chile (3.6) and France and Italy (4.3).
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