Monday, May 14, 2001
Study shows a decrease in marriages
and divorces in New Zealand
A story released today by the Xinhua News Agency reports that New Zealand saw fewer
marriages and marriage dissolutions in 2000 compared to the prior year.
Statistics New Zealand said in a media release here Monday that marriages registered in
2000 totaled 20,655, a decrease of 430 or 2 percent on the previous year in New Zealand,
which has a population of 3.8 million.
The 2000 figure is down 24 percent on the peak of 27,199 marriages in 1971. The rate of
marriage fell from 16.2 per 1,000 in 1999 to 15.6 per 1,000 in 2000. The latest marriage
rate is about a third of the peak level of 45.5 per 1,000 recorded in 1971.
The growth of de facto unions, the trend towards delayed marriage and a growing percentage
of New Zealanders remaining single have all contributed to the large drop in the marriage
The trend toward later marriage is also continuing. People marrying for the first time in
2000 were, on average, about six years older than their counterparts in 1971.
While women still tend to marry men older than themselves, the gap between their average
age at first marriage has narrowed, from three years in the mid-1960s to just over two
years in 2000.
Last year, 9,695 marriage dissolution orders were granted in Family Courts, compared with
9,936 in 1999. The divorce rate fell from 12.6 in 1999 to 12.3 in 2000.
The median age for divorce actions in 2000 was 41.6 years for men and 39 years for women.
The report noted that the divorce filers were on the average, three years older than those
who divorced a decade earlier.