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Fewer marriages in Singapore in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions; lowest number of divorces since 2006

Fewer marriages in Singapore in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions; lowest number of divorces since 2006

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

SINGAPORE: Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant fewer couples in Singapore got married last year, said the Department of Statistics Singapore on Wednesday (Jul 7). 

Last year also saw the lowest number of marital dissolutions since 2006. The pandemic, including measures taken during the "circuit breaker" period, "may have contributed" to fewer divorces being filed, the department added.


A total of 22,651 marriages were registered last year, down 10.9 per cent from 2019, when 25,434 marriages were registered. 

"This was due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including circuit breaker restrictions and safe management measures applied to wedding solemnisations and receptions from March 2020," said the department.

Singapore implemented a circuit breaker between Apr 7 and Jun 1 last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

READ: Solemnisations between Apr 7 and May 4 will need to be postponed, appeals heard on 'case-by-case' basis: MSF, ROMM

Consequently, the annual average number of marriages in the last five years was 26,255, lower than the annual average of 27,635 marriages registered between 2011 and 2015. 

The statistics also showed that the general marriage rate for men and women fell in 2020 compared to a decade ago.

The general marriage rate for men was 35.7 marriages per thousand unmarried men aged 15 to 49 years old in 2020, down from 39.3 in 2010. The rate for women was 34.9 in 2020, down from 35.3 a decade ago.

Between 2010 and 2020, the median age at first marriage rose from 30 years old to 30.4 years old for men, and from 27.7 years old to 28.8 years old for women. 

The age gap between couples in their first marriage narrowed over the past decade, said the department. 

Last year, 42.1 per cent of couples in their first marriage were either of the same age or aged one year apart - an increase from 35.4 per cent in 2010. Another 18.1 per cent were aged two years apart, up from 15.5 per cent over the same period.

"Couple who were aged at least five years apart decreased to 19.2 per cent in 2020, from 28.3 per cent in 2010," added the department. 

READ: Wedding vendors expect more business with easing of restrictions, but not all couples scaling up receptions


A total of 6,959 marriages also ended in divorce or annulment last year, an 8.7 per cent drop compared to 7,623 in 2019, said the department in its press release. 

Between 2016 and 2020, the annual average number of marital dissolutions was 7,424, slightly lower than the annual average of 7,439 in the preceding five-year period.

The general divorce rate also fell for both men and women over the past decade. 

READ: Marriage certificates sent by courier and no tea ceremonies: First group of couples get married virtually during circuit breaker

For men, there were 6.3 divorcees for every thousand married men aged 20 years and over in 2020, down from 7.5 in 2010. For women, the rate in 2020 was 6.1, down from 7.2 a decade ago.

The median age at divorce rose over the last decade, from 41 years old in 2010 to 43.2 years old in 2020 for men, and from 37.4 years old to 39.5 years old for women.

The median duration of marriage for divorces in 2020 was 10.4 years, compared to the 10.6 years in 2010.

Couples who were married for five to nine years accounted for the largest share – 29.4 per cent – of all divorces in 2020. 

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Source: CNA/ad


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