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International News Archive
September 21 - September 27, 2000


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This page contains news for the period September 21, 2000 through September 27, 2000.



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September 22, 2000

Government predicts that more than 20% of adults will never marry in Australia

A story published in The Age reports that the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that more than one in five of the national's adults may never marry.

The Bureau also reported that even though 114,300 couples said "I do" in 1999, the same year divorce rates peaked at a 10-year high.

Last year 3700 more couples got hitched than the year before, pushing the overall trend away from wedlock. During that time, 52,600 couples divorced - 2 per cent more than in 1998.

Dot Russell, an ABS social studies statistician, said despite last year's figures, the likelihood of people ever marrying had substantially fallen in the past 10 years.

Trends suggest about one in five men, and fewer than one in four woman will not marry.

About 46 per cent of marriages are likely to end in divorce, with the highest failure rate among couples
who marry aged 20 or younger.

Demographer Peter Macdonald said the higher marriage level did not reflect a greater respect for the institution.

"There's some big groups who were born around about 1970 in Australia who are now at the kind of peak
marrying ages, and that's the reason why the number of marriages is going up," he said.

The 1999 divorce rate of 2.8 per 1000 people was higher than 1998 (2.7). However, it is lower than the United States' rate (4.3) and about equal with Canada's (2.6) and the United Kingdom's (2.9).

The trend towards couples marrying at an older age also continued. The average age men married exceeded 30 years for the first time. The average age women married last year was 27.9 years, up from 25.7 years 10 years ago.

For the first time, more couples were married by civil celebrants rather than ministers of religion. However,
Victorians and people in New South Wales still preferred religious celebrants.

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