SINGAPORE: More couples got married in 2021 with the easing of COVID-19 measures, compared to the fall in the previous year when marriage plans were disrupted.
The number of marital dissolutions also went up, as divorce proceedings resumed after being previously adjourned, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics on Wednesday (Jul 6).
A total of 28,329 marriages were registered last year, a 25.1 per cent increase compared to the 22,651 marriages in 2020 when the COVID-19 "circuit breaker" and other restrictions were in place.
Compared to a decade ago, the general marriage rate for men and women rose.
There were 45.3 marriages per thousand unmarried males aged 15 to 49 years in 2021, up from 43.5 in 2011. Similarly, there were 44.2 marriages per thousand unmarried females aged 15 to 49 years in 2021, up from 39.2 a decade ago.
The median age at first marriage also went up in 2021 compared to 2011 - from 30.1 years to 30.5 years for grooms and from 28.0 years to 29.1 years for brides.
According to the Department of Statistics, the age gap between couples in their first marriage narrowed.
Last year, 43.7 per cent of couples in their first marriage were either of the same age or aged one year apart, an increase from 35.9 per cent in 2011.
Over the same period, the proportion of grooms who were at least two years older decreased from 54.5 per cent to 46.9 per cent in 2021. The proportion of brides who were at least two years older was 9.4 per cent in 2021, similar to 2011.
There were 7,890 marital dissolutions in 2021, an increase of 13.4 per cent from the 6,959 granted in 2020.
"The increase was due to more divorce applications filed in 2021, and the resumption of divorce proceedings that were previously adjourned, following the easing of safe management measures," said the department.
Compared to a decade ago, the general divorce rates were, however, still lower.
There were 7.2 male divorcees for every thousand married men aged 20 and over in 2021, down from 7.6 in 2011. Similarly, there were 6.9 female divorcees for every thousand married women aged 20 and over in 2021, down from 7.2 in 2011.
The median age at divorce increased over the same period. For male divorcees, it went up from 41.3 years to 43.9 years while for female divorcees, it rose from 37.7 years to 40 years.
For divorced couples, the median duration of marriage in 2021 was 10.7 years, slightly longer than the 10.5 years in 2011.
Couples who stayed married for five to nine years before divorcing continued to account for the largest share, at 29.8 per cent of all divorces in 2021.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct unit of measure for the general divorce rate for females after the Singapore Department of Statistics amended its press release.