Lindy Cooke Celebrant

Marriage statistics in Australia

Crunching the numbers

It’s interesting to note that the number of marriages, the age of those electing to marry and the person couples choose to marry them is, in part, reflected by society and recent changes to the law. Here are some really interesting statistics, released in November 2018 from the ABS, concerning marriage statistics in Australia for the previous year:

 There were 112,954 marriages registered.

 The number of marriages decreased by 5,447 (4.6%).

 Males, on average, were 32.0 years of age, an increase from 31.9 years in 2016.

 Females, on average, were 30.1 years of age, an increase of 0.2 years in 2016.

 The majority of marriages (78.0%) continue to be overseen by civil celebrants.

 The majority of brides (80.9%) and grooms (79.3%) had not been married before.

 73% of celebrants are called “religious celebrants” (either a minister of religion, or a celebrant who was able to choose …between 9.12.17 when the law changed and 31.12.17 which marked the end of the calendar year … to perform ceremonies not including same-sex ceremonies). The remaining 27% are civil celebrants (like me) and are called “marriage celebrants”. Note: It is now law that each celebrant differentiates themselves by using the term “religious marriage celebrant” or “marriage celebrant” in all their marketing.

 27% of all civil celebrants perform 78% of all marriages.

 Using the 2017 figures for marriage (112,954) and the percentage of those officiated by civil celebrants (78%), the average number of marriages per celebrant in 2017 was 10.3. This figure, naturally, includes those who refer to themselves as “hobby” celebrants who may only officiate 2 or 3 ceremonies a year (often for family and friends), those who officiate an “average” of, say, 30-40 a year, and those who officiate 2 or more ceremonies each week.)


What about same-sex marriages?

The figures to come out towards the end of 2019 (i.e. those for 2018) will, for the most part, reflect the changes to the Marriage Act 1961 which took place on 9th December 2017. It is on this date that same-sex marriages in Australia became legal. Taking into account the minimum 1 month’s notice required by law, the date most same-sex couples were subsequently able to marry in Australia was on or after 9th January 2018. For this reason, only a small number of marriages recorded during the period 1st to 8th January 2018 were same-sex marriages. These exceptions relate to couples who were granted a shortening of time by a prescribed authority (which means they were not required to wait the minimum 1 month period as they met certain strict criteria.)

The first year where the statistics will reflect the number of marriages over a full 12 month period since the change to the law (i.e. those for 2019 where ALL couples who wanted to marry were legally able to do so) will not be until 2020. Further information on the specific changes to the Act can be found here.

058 – 31/01/2019

© Lindy Cooke Celebrant

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