Number of marriages registered continues to decline, more couples divorced in 2019

SINGAPORE – The number of couples who tied the knot last year hit a nine-year low, with 25,434 marriages registered last year.

This was 5.8 per cent lower than the 27,007 marriages registered in 2018, and the lowest since 2010 when 24,363 marriages were registered.

However, despite the decline in 2019, the annual average number of marriages registered in the last five years at 27,389 was higher than the annual average registered between 2010 and 2014 which was 26,844.

Both civil and Muslim marriages dipped last year, though the proportion of inter-ethnic marriages increased to 22.9, up from 22.4 the previous year.

Meanwhile, the number of marriages that ended in a divorce or annulment increased last year, according to the Department of Statistics, which released the 2019 marriage and divorce statistics on Tuesday (July 28).

A total of 7,623 marriages ended in divorce or annulment last year, an increase of 3.8 per cent from the 7,344 marital dissolutions in the previous year.

The increase in divorces was mainly due to the number of non-Muslim couples divorcing, as 5,633 such couples parted ways last year, up from 5,308 the year before.

This increase more than offset the slight dip in number of annulments – 293, down from 354 in 2018.

Between 2015 and 2019, the annual average number of marital dissolutions was 7,536, higher than the 7,402 in the preceding five-year period.

The median age at which people here have been marrying and divorcing has also continued to increase.

For grooms, the median age at first marriage rose from 29.8 years in 2009 to 30.4 years last year, while for brides, it went up from 27.5 years to 28.8 years.

While a majority of the grooms in first marriages continued to be older than brides, the proportion of first marriages involving brides who are older than grooms increased from 16 per cent in 2009 to 18.3 per cent in 2019, said the Department of Statistics.

The median age at which people divorce rose over the last decade, from 40.5 years in 2009 to 43.4 years in 2019 for male divorcees, and from 36.9 years to 39.3 years for female divorcees.

The median duration of marriage for divorces in 2019 was 10.4 years, slightly longer than the 10.1 years in 2009, while couples who were married for five to nine years accounted for the largest share – 29 per cent – of all divorces in 2019.

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