Singapore sees upward trend in divorces and downward trend in marriages in 2019

Singapore recorded a total of 25,434 marriages registered in 2019, 5.8 per cent lower than the 27,007 marriages registered in 2018. 

In 2018, out of the 27,007 marriages registered, 8,391 marriages were with non-citizen spouses, with brides marrying non-citizens almost three times as many as grooms.

Out of the 64,893 increase – 1.2 per cent – in Singapore’s total population from 2018 to 2019, non-citizen spouses accounted for 0.13 per cent of the increase.

For divorce and annulments, there were a total of 7,623 marriages which ended in dissolution in 2019, an increase of 3.8 per cent from the 7,344 marital dissolutions in the previous year.

Average marriage rates from 2015 – 2019 increased from the period of 2010 – 2014

A total of 25,434 marriages were registered in 2019, 5.8 per cent lower than the 27,007 marriages registered in 2018, according to the “Statistics on Marriages and Divorces, 2019” publication released by the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS). 

Inter-ethnic marriages account for 22.4 per cent (5,697) of the marriages, a marginal increase of 0.5 per cent from 2018.

“Inter-ethnic” marriages refer to marriages where both the groom and bride are of different ethnicity (e.g. Malay-Indian, Malay-Chinese, Indian-Others).

The share of inter-ethnic marriages has increased between 2009 (18.4 per cent) and 2019 (22.9 per cent) as well.

In 2019, inter-ethnic marriages continued to be more prevalent among Muslim marriages (37 per cent) as compared to civil marriages (19 per cent).

Despite the decline in 2019, the annual average number of marriages registered between 2015 – 2019 (27,389) was higher than the annual average registered between 2010 and 2014 (26,844).

Annual average number of marital dissolutions between 2015 and 2019 rose slightly compared to the preceding five-year period

A total of 7,623 marriages ended in divorce or annulment in 2019, an increase of 3.8 per cent from the 7,344 marital dissolutions in 2018. 

General marriage rate refers to the number of marriages registered among persons aged 15-49 years during the year, out of every thousand unmarried population in the same age group.

Between 2015 and 2019, the annual average number of marital dissolutions was 7,536, higher as compared to 7,402 in the preceding five-year period.

The proportion of inter-ethnic divorces among Muslim marriages and other civil marriages differ too.

Among civil marriages, 15.8 per cent of couples filed for divorce, a slight increase of 0.5 from the year before.

For Muslim marriages, 26 per cent ended in divorce, an increase from 23.8 per cent from 2018.

Less males and females were getting married in the last decade

The general marriage rate for males was 40.7 marriages per thousand unmarried males aged 15-49 years in 2019, down from 43.4 in 2009. 

Similarly for females, the 2019 rate was 37.9 marriages per thousand unmarried females aged 15-49 years, down from 38.9 a decade ago.

Higher median age of males and females getting married 

The median age at first marriage for grooms and brides rose from 29.8 years to 30.4 years and from 27.5 years to 28.8 years respectively between 2009 and 2019.

Higher median age at divorce and longer median marriage duration

The median age for divorce rose though over the last decade, from 40.5 years in 2009 to 43.4 years in 2019 for male divorcees, and from 36.9 years to 39.3 years for female divorcees. 

The median duration of marriage for divorces in 2019 was also marginally higher – at 10.4 years compared to the 10.1 years in 2009. 

Couples who were married for 5 to 9 years accounted for the largest share (29.0 per cent) of all divorces in 2019.

Increasing share of brides being older than grooms

While majority of the grooms in first marriages continued to be older than brides, the proportion of first marriages involving brides who are older than grooms increased from 16.0 per cent in 2009 to 18.3 per cent in 2019.

Divorce dates declined between 2009 and 2019

The general divorce rate declined for both males and females over the past decade. 

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 females, the rate was 6.5 female divorcees for every thousand married females aged 20 years and over in 2019, down from 7.1 in 2009.

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