In spite of all the daily drama in the news an society seeming to be getting worse, it is surprising to learn that the divorce rate is going down. Yes, down, not up. This does not appear to be a statistical anomaly, but reality. People seem to be staying together (slightly) longer before separating, and taking longer to get divorced.
Is this a sign of the economic times or simply reflects that we are growing more tolerant in our relationships?
Figures released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that down under people are
living together more before marrying
getting married later
getting divorced older
In the last 10 years, the divorce rate has decreased by a third. It used to be 2.7 divorces per thousand in 1994, but by 2014, in a consistent downwards tend it was 2.0 divorces per thousand. The figures in absolute terms has gone from 48, 312 in 1994, peaking at 52,727 in 2004, and last year down to 46,498.
The length of marriage before separation over that time grew from 7.6 to 8.4 years, although in recent years the length was slightly longer, up to 8.8 years in 2010. Similarly the number of years between marriage and divorce has increased over that time from 10.9 years to 12, although in 2004 it was 12.3 years.
However, we are either staying single or living together instead, because the marriage rate is down. Marriages in 1994 were 6.2 per thousand. In a consistent downward trend, by 2014 that had dropped to 5.2 per thousand, although the absolute number had gone up from 111,174 to 121, 197 celebrated in those years.
The number of children affected by divorce has also dropped, from 47,537 in 1994, to 40,152 in 2014. This is a consistent trend. It could mean that we are getting older (which we are, and therefore children are not under the age of 18 at divorce), or that we are not having as many children as we once were, or that we are living together more and not getting married.