There were 21,600 marriages registered in New Zealand in the December 2009 year, down 1 percent from the previous year, Statistics New Zealand said today. "The drop in the total number of marriages was due to fewer remarriages," Population Statistics manager Denise McGregor said. The number of first marriages was unchanged from 2008, at 14,800.
The general marriage rate (marriages per 1,000 unmarried adults) was 13.2 in 2009, down from 16.1 in 1999. The latest rate is less than one-third of the peak level of 45.5 per 1,000 recorded in 1971. Factors that have contributed to the falling marriage rate include the growth in de facto unions, a general trend towards delayed marriage, and more New Zealanders remaining single.
Divorces also decreased in 2009, with the Family Court granting 8,700 marriage dissolution orders. "This is below the annual average of 10,000 divorces between 1999 and 2008, and the lowest number of divorces since 1989," said Mrs McGregor. The divorce rate (divorces per 1,000 estimated existing marriages) was 10.2 in 2009, the lowest divorce rate since 1980 when the Family Proceedings Act was passed.
Analysis of divorce statistics by year of marriage shows that about one-third of New Zealanders who married in 1984 had divorced before their silver wedding anniversary (25 years).
Geoff Bascand 5 May 2010