Marriage in Australia

Family facts and figures: Marriages in Australia

Marriage rates

In 2013, there were 118,962 marriages in Australia. The crude marriage rate was 5.1 per 1000 people.

Although the number of marriages has increased consistently between 1950 and 2013, the crude marriage rate has declined (9.2 in 1950 compared to 5.1 in 2013). 

Year Number of marriages Crude marriage rate
1950 75,599 9.2
1975 103,973 7.5
1995 109,386 6.1
2013 118,962 5.1

Number of marriages and crude marriage rate source data

Median age for first time marriages

In 2013, the median age for first time marriages was 29.9 years for men and 28.3 years for women.

Since the mid 1970s, the median age for first time marriages has increased:

  • 23.4 years for men in 1975 compared to 29.9 years in 2013
  • 21 years for women in 1975 compared to 28.3 years in 2013.

On average, women consistently marry younger than men.

Median age for first time marriages source data

Marriage preceded by cohabitation

Between the 1970s and late 2000s, marriages preceded by cohabitation increased significantly.

  • in 1976, just 16% of men and women lived together before marriage, compared to 71% in 2000.
  • 77% of couples lived together before marriage in 2013.

Marriage preceded by cohabitation source data

Marriage celebrants

The choice of celebrant for marriage ceremonies changed significantly over the last century:

  • in 1902, almost all marriages were performed by ministers of religion (96.2%)
  • in 1999, more marriages were conducted by civil servants than ministers of religion (51.3% compared to 48.7%)
  • in 2013, 72.5% of all marriage were conducted by civil servants, compared to 27.4% by ministers of religion.

Marriage celebrants source data

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