SINGAPORE: The number of marriages and divorces decreased last year, according to figures released by the Singapore Department of Statistics (Singstat) on Tuesday (Jul 30).
A total of 27,007 marriages were registered in 2018, 4.3 per cent lower than the 28,212 marriages registered in 2017. The decline was due to a fall in both civil and Muslim marriages.
The general marriage rate for males was 43.3 marriages per thousand unmarried males aged 15 to 49 years in 2018, down from 45.7 in 2017, Singstat added. Similarly for females, the 2018 rate was 40.8 marriages per thousand unmarried females aged 15 to 49 years, down from 42.8 over the same period.
A total of 7,344 marriages ended in a divorce or an annulment in 2018, a decrease of 3.1 per cent from the 7,578 marital dissolutions in the previous year.
This was due to the decline in civil marital dissolutions which more than offset the slight increase in Muslim divorces, according to Singstat.
The general divorce rate fell for the second consecutive year in 2018.
There were 6.7 male divorcees for every thousand married males aged 20 years and over in 2018, lower than the rate of 6.9 in 2017 and 7.1 in 2016.
The rate for females was 6.3 female divorcees for every thousand married females aged 20 years and over in 2018, down from 6.5 in 2017 and 6.6 in 2016.
The median age at divorce rose over the last decade. The median ages for male and female divorcees were 43.2 years and 38.9 years respectively in 2018, up from 39.9 years and 36.3 years in 2008.
The median duration of marriage for divorces in 2018 was 10.2 years, slightly longer than the 9.9 years in 2008. Couples who were married for 5 to 9 years accounted for the largest share (29.3 per cent) of all divorces in 2018.
Singstat added that the median age of first-time grooms and brides rose from 29.8 years to 30.2 years and from 27.3 years to 28.5 years respectively between 2008 and 2018.
Inter-ethnic marriages continued to increase in 2018 to 22.4 per cent of total marriages, up from 16.7 per cent in 2008.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Desmond Lee said that while the marriage rate fell between 2017 and 2018, the yearly average over the last five years has remained higher compared with the previous five years.
He added that his ministry will continue to work to strengthen support for families undergoing divorce.
"The Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System (or RERF for short) – formed by MSF with the Ministry of Law and the Family Justice Courts – is looking at how we can reduce the hostility and conflict in their journey for more positive family outcomes," he said.
"They are finalising their recommendations, and we will release them for public consultation soon."