Singapore's Registry of Marriage (Photo - addgrainonearth.com)

Decline of number of marriages and divorces registered in 2018 as compared the year before

The number of marriages and divorced registered in 2018 declined from the previous year, according to the “Statistics on Marriages and Divorce, 2018” publication released by the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS).

The authority stated that a total of 27,007 marriages were registered in 2018, 4.3 per cent lower than the 28,212 marriages registered in 2017.

According to DOS, the decline was due to a fall in both civil and Muslim marriages, noting that Civil marriages refer to marriages registered under the Women’s Charter, while Muslim marriages refer to marriages registered under the Administration of Muslim Law Act.

It added that the analysis on marriages excludes re-registered marriages (i.e. civil marriages which were contracted overseas or under religious & customary rites and were subsequently registered in Singapore in the reference year). In 2018, there were 205 re-registered marriages.

However, the yearly average number of marriages over the last five years was 27,984, higher than the average of 26,378 between 2009 and 2013.

DOS stated that the general marriage rate for males was 43.3 marriages per thousand unmarried males aged 15-49 years in 2018, down from 45.7 in 2017. Similarly, for females, the 2018 rate was 40.8 marriages per thousand unmarried females aged 15-49 years, down from 42.8 the year before.

The report also mentioned that a total of 7,344 marriages ended in a divorce or an annulment were recorded in 2018, a decrease of 3.1 per cent from the 7,578 marital dissolutions in the previous year, which was due to the decline in civil marital dissolutions which more than offset the slight increase in Muslim divorces.

“From 2014 to 2018, the yearly average number of marital dissolutions was 7,473, a slight increase compared to 7,397 in the preceding five-year period,” the authority added.

It also said that the general divorce rate fell for the second consecutive year in 2018 for both males and females. 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.

As for the median age at first marriage for grooms and brides, DOS stated that the number rose from 29.8 years to 30.2 years and from 27.3 years to 28.5 years respectively between 2008 and 2018.

It noted that the share of inter-ethnic marriages continued to increase over the years. In 2018, 22.4 per cent of total marriages were between grooms and brides of different ethnic groups, an increase from 16.7 per cent in 2008.

Unfortunately, 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.

It said that 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.