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Fewer marriages, more divorces in Singapore last year

Fewer marriages, more divorces in Singapore last year

File photo of a ring being placed on a finger. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Fewer couples in Singapore got married and more marriages ended in divorce last year, the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat) said on Tuesday (Jul 28).

A total of 25,434 marriages were registered in 2019, 5.8 per cent lower than the 27,007 marriages registered in 2018.

Over a five-year period, however, the annual average number of marriages registered rose to 27,389 from the 26,844 seen between 2010 and 2014.

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People were also getting married later, SingStat’s figures showed, with the median age at the first marriage rising from 29.8 years to 30.4 years for men, and from 27.5 years to 28.8 years for women between 2009 and 2019.

While the majority of grooms in their first marriages continued to be older than the bride, the proportion of women marrying younger men increased from 16 per cent in 2009 to 18.3 per cent in 2019.

Marriages involving minors (below 21 years old) also declined, with the proportion among civil marriages falling from 2.7 per cent in 2009 to 0.5 per cent last year, and from 7.3 per cent to 2.8 per cent among Muslim marriages.

Inter-ethnic marriages continued to increase, rising from 18.4 per cent in 2009 to 22.9 per cent last year.

Over the last decade, the general marriage rate declined among those aged between 15 and 49, with 40.7 marriages per thousand unmarried males in 2019, down from 43.4 in 2009, and 37.9 marriages per thousand unmarried females, down from 38.9 a decade ago.

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A total of 7,623 marriages ended in divorce or annulment last year, an increase of 3.8 per cent from 7,344 in the previous year.

Between 2015 and 2019, the average number of marital dissolutions was 7,536 a year, an increase from 7,402 in the preceding five-year period, SingStat said.

The majority of civil divorces in 2019 were initiated by wives (65 per cent), slightly higher than in 2009 (64.2 per cent). 

The top reason among women filing for divorce was "unreasonable behaviour" of spouse, cited by 58.5 per cent. Among men filing for divorce, the top reason was "lived apart or separated for three years or more", cited by 51.9 per cent.

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People were also getting divorced later, with the median age of men in divorces rising from 40.5 years in 2009 to 43.4 years last year and from 36.9 years to 39.3 years for women.

Couples also stayed together slightly longer, with the median duration of marriage for divorces in 2019 at 10.4 years compared to the 10.1 years in 2009.

Couples who were married for five to nine years accounted for the largest share – 29.0 per cent – of all divorces in 2019.

Over a 10-year period, the divorce rate declined for both men and women.

There were 6.9 male divorcees for every thousand married males aged 20 years and over in 2019, down from 7.5 in 2009. For women, the rate was 6.5 divorcees for every thousand married females aged 20 years and over in 2019, down from 7.1 in 2009.

Source: CNA/aa(cy)


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