The aisle less travelled

Stuff 19 June 2014
New Zealand has become something of a marital wasteland.

Gone are the days when marriage was an initiation into sex, a formative cornerstone of ‘‘growing up’’ or an act of financial necessity. In fact, general marriage rates have never been lower.

The facts about marriage
General marriage rates peaked in 1971 at 45.5 per 1000, but have gradually declined.

The number of children born outside wedlock is almost equal to the number born to married parents: 27,793 versus 30,924 in 2013.

More than 200 same-sex marriages, which were legal from August last year, were not enough to stop the number of marriages dropping below 20,000 for the first time since 2001.

Of the 19,237 marriages of New Zealand residents, 13,312 were first marriages, 5825 involved one or both parties being previously married.

Last year, 8279 couples split – a rate of 9.4 divorces for every 1000 estimated existing marriages. The divorce rate has been declining slowly every year from a peak of 12.8 dissolutions per 1000 marriages in 2003 and 2004, to 9.8 in 2011.

Just over a third of couples who married in 1988 had divorced before their 25th wedding anniversary.

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