Using the latest available data; All statistics correct as of 15/12/2023.

At Damien Greer Lawyers, we have over 40 years of expertise in advising on all aspects of family law, including marriage and divorce.

Over this period of time, we’ve seen considerable changes in both the way that people get married and divorced in Australia, and the frequency in which they do so. To learn more about marriage and divorce in Australia, we’ve pulled together all the latest statistics.

1.0 Marriage Rates in Australia

Key statistics:

  • After lows in 2020 and 2021, 2022 saw the highest number of marriages on record
  • After its heightened ranking in 2021, Queensland has returned to being Australia’s 3rd highest contributor of marriages in 2022
  • New South Wales and Victoria both saw over 50% increases in their marriages from 2021 to 2022.

Marriage statistics have been compiled from the most recent ABS data.

1.1 Total marriages in Australia

Year 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Marriages 119,188 113,815 78,989 89,164 127,161
Crude marriage rate 6.0 5.6 3.8 4.3 6.1

After several years of decreased marriages and weddings due to COVID-19, 2022 showed the complete turning of the tide. 2022 saw the most marriages of any year on record in Australia, surpassing the last few years before lockdowns were introduced. 

The crude marriage rate also suggests that marriages are where they would have been without COVID, with 6.1 marriages per 1,000 people in the population aged 16 or over. When compared to pre-COVID crude marriage rates of 6.0 and 5.6, it would suggest that marital normality has finally returned.

1.2 Marriages including the same or non-binary gender

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Male same-sex marriages 2,757 2,260 1,116 1,075 1,767
Female same-sex marriages 3,784 3,245 1,785 1,770 2,667
Marriages including a person of non-binary gender na na na na 159
Total marriages including the same or non-binary gender 6,541 5,505 2,901 2,845 4,593

Since the legalisation of same sex marriages in 2018 rates and trends of marriages including the same or non-binary gendered spouses have mirrored those of hetero marriages. The decline of 2020 and 2021 saw a resurgence in 2022, with a 64% increase in marriages year on year.

1.3 Marriage statistics per state in Australia

2020 2021 2022
NSW 27,609 27,314 44,953
Vic. 16,628 18,740 33,231
Qld 15,917 21,627 25,014
SA 5,429 6,778 7,268
WA 9,561 10,305 11,237
Tas. 2,016 2,328 2,821
NT 549 796 819
ACT 1,278 1,279 1,818

New South Wales saw a 65% increase in marriages in 2022, which can be largely attributed to delays and lockdowns during 2020 and 2021. Not to be outdone, Victoria saw a yearly increase of 77% for marriages in 2022.

The rest of Australia saw reasonably consistent increases to their marriage rates.

2.0 Divorce Rates in Australia

Key statistics:

  • The most recent divorce rates stand at 2.2 divorces per 1,000 Australian residents
  • 56,244 divorces were granted in 2021, with 48,432 involving children
  • New South Wales had the highest proportion of weddings administered by a minister of religion (25%), rather than a civil celebrant.

Divorce statistics have been compiled from the most recent ABS data.

Since the introduction of ‘no fault divorce’ in 1976, Australia’s crude divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1,000 Australian residents) has fallen steadily from highs of 4.5, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The most recent Australian divorce rate stands at 2.4 per 1,000 Australian residents, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

2.1 Total divorces granted in Australia, with rates

Year 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Divorces 49,674 48,582 49,510 56,244 49,241
Crude divorce rate 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.7 2.4

After severely heightened crude divorce rates in 2021 (likely due to tensions in the COVID-19 pandemic), figures returned to the usual 2.4 divorces per 1,000 residents aged 16 years or over.

2.2 Average length of marriage in Australia (resulting in divorce)

Year 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Median years to separation 8.5 8.6 8.4 8.4 8.9
Median years to divorce 12.2 12.3 12.1 12.2 12.8

Interestingly, the average length of marriages resulting in divorce during 2022 was higher than the preceding 4 years. This could be due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to the breakdown of many longer-term marriages and relationships than usual.

2.3 Number of children impacted by divorce in Australia

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total Divorces Involving Children 23,092 23,620 22,912 24,071 26,879
Total Children Involved 42,146 43,012 41,592 44,155 48,432

The most recent data surrounding children of divorces only covered calendar years up to 2021. In 2021, there were almost 50,000 Australian children impacted by divorce. The decline in divorce rates in 2022 would suggest this number would have decreased, But this result cannot be confirmed.

2.4 Type of divorce applicants in Australia

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Male 12,239 11,483 11,230 14,396 11,415
Female 15,489 14,091 14,190 14,106 12,730
Joint 21,946 23,008 24,090 27,739 25,094

Almost 50% of divorce applications made in 2021 were by joint applicants. For the first time in the previous 5 years, there were more applications made by male applicants than female applicants.

2.5 Divorce statistics per state in Australia

2020 2021 2022
NSW 14,023 17,126 14,661
Vic. 11,806 12,766 11,783
Qld 11,824 13,475 11,410
SA 3,298 3,863 3,046
WA 5,712 5,989 5,718
Tas. 1,018 1,142 977

Considering the drop to the national crude divorce rate, no Australian states stand out as having higher or lower fluctuations to their divorce rates. New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory saw the highest percentage drops to their total divorces granted from 2021 to 2022. However, no Australian states or territories saw an increase to their total divorces granted.

2.6 Percentage of marriages that end in divorce

While no statistical measure has been released by the ABS, the best way to estimate this figure would be to consider total marriages and total divorces granted over a strong sample size. This would give a likely indication of the percentage of marriages that end in divorce in Australia.

Total marriages, 2003-2022 Total divorces, 2003-2022
2,275,690 994,918

With these figures as a guide, it could be estimated that 44% of marriages in Australia end in divorce.

The Experts in Marriage Law

Both marriages and divorces are extremely significant life stages, but vary vastly in the emotions and priorities involved. In either case, it’s important to ensure you’re in a sound legal position, and giving your family the best path to happiness moving forward.

If you’re thinking about getting married in Australia, we can help you learn more about entering into a binding financial agreements which can ensure asset protection. Likewise, we can also help advise you on getting your overseas marriage or any orders registered in Australia.

Alternatively, if you’ve come to the end of a relationship and you need to divorce or have a property settlement, we can advise you based on your circumstances and help you get the process started.

Using the latest available data; All statistics correct as of 15/12/2023.

2022 Marriage and Divorce Statistics

View an archive version of 2022 statistics.