The number of marriages in the country fell by more than 30% in the first six months of 2020, according to a report released 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 during the same period 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.
Less likely to be first-time marriages
“Despite the restrictions, nearly 10,000 weddings went ahead between April and June 2020,” Eynstone-Hinkins noted.
“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.
Continuing decline in marriage stats
There were 113,815 marriages registered in 2019, a decrease of 4.5% 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.
However, the final set of data for 2020 may show more divorces in the country than in recent years.
Divorce enquiries more than double
In August, the national divorce, information and mediation group, The Separation Guide, said enquiries for divorce had more than doubled since Covid-19 hit Australia,
Financial pressure, job loss and mental health issues were some of the key triggers for relationship breakdowns, The Separation Guide noted. The figures were particularly dire for couples in Victoria, which represented 40% of this increase.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics data, released as part of Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2019, also showed that the most popular season to marry was Spring (32% 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 on that date.