>>> This is an archived copy of the article on Australian Marriage and Divorce Statistics from 2022. Please click here for the latest article on Australian Marriage and Divorce Statistics.


Using the latest available data; All statistics correct as of 25/02/2023.

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, and to see how we compare with the rest of the world, we’ve pulled together all the latest statistics.

Marriage Rates in Australia

Key statistics:

  • After a sharp decline in marriages in 2020 due to COVID-19, marriage rates increased in 2021
  • Queensland saw the most notable jump in marriage figures from 2020 to 2021, increasing by 36%
  • New South Wales had the highest proportion of weddings administered by a minister of religion (25%), rather than a civil celebrant.

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

Total Marriages in Australia

2017 112,954%

2018 119,188%

2019 113,815%

2020 78,989%

2021 89,164%

Marriage rates in Australia have been severely impacted by COVID-19. Even with a minor increase in marriage rates in 2021 following a severely depleted 2020, there were still less than 90,000 marriages in Australia (compared to over 110,000 in each year from 2017 to 2019).

Previous Marital Status

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
First marriage both partners 72.2% 72.1% 72.8% 71.6% 74.3%
First marriage one partner 15.9% 16.4% 15.9% 16.6% 14.9%
Remarriage both partners 11.9% 11.4% 11.3% 11.9% 10.8%

Over time, the proportion of marriages where both participants were previously unwedded has increased. It seems Australians have been less inclined in 2020 and 2021 to remarry.

Same Sex Marriages

2018 2019 2020 2021
Male same-sex marriages 2,757 2,262 1,117 1,072
Female same-sex marriages 3,781 3,243 1,782 1,771
Total same-sex marriages 6,538 5,507 2,902 2,842

The legalisation of same sex marriages in 2018 saw a natural spike in figures, as couples who previously didn’t have the opportunity legally wedded. Therefore, the decline in figures over 2020 and 2021 would likely be caused by both the decline in couples who didn’t previously have legal opportunity, and the disruption of COVID-19. Statistics over 2022, 2023 and 2024 should begin to indicate what average rates of same sex marriage look like.

Marriage Statistics Per State in Australia (2021)

NSW Vic. Qld SA WA Tas. NT ACT
Number of Marriages 27,311 18,738 21,627 6,781 10,305 2,329 794 1,282
% with Minister of Religion 25.5 18.8 14.2 20.1 16.3 12.4 14.1 16.6
% with Civil Celebrant 74.5 81.2 85.8 79.9 83.8 87.8 86.6 83.3

New South Wales was home to the largest number of marriages in 2021, followed by Queensland. Despite being the second most populated state, Victoria had the third highest figure of marriages.

New South Wales also had the highest proportion of weddings administered by a minister of religion – accounting for over 1 in 4 marriages. Tasmania saw the opposite trend, with almost 90% of Tasmanian marriages being administered by a civil celebrant.

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 2.2 per 1,000 Australian residents, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Total Divorces Granted in Australia


2017 49,032

2018 49,674

2019 48,582

2020 49,510

2021 56,244

Possibly owing to the known strain on families in 2020 during lockdowns, 2021 divorce rates saw an increase to the largest number of divorces in the last 20 years.

Median Length of Marriage Leading to Separation/Divorce in Australia

Median Years 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
To Separation 8.3 8.5 8.6 8.4 8.4
To Divorce 12.0 12.2 12.3 12.1 12.2

The median length of marriages culminating in separation or divorce has remained consistent over the past 5 recorded calendar years. However, data collected throughout 2022 and 2023 may offer greater insights into the effects of COVID-19 on the length of marriages.

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

2021 saw almost 50,000 Australian children be impacted by divorce. At the consistent rate of increase from 2019 to 2021, data from 2022 may show this figure rise above 50,000 Australian children.

Type of Divorce Applicants in Australia

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Male 12,016 12,239 11,483 11,230 14,396
Female 15,375 15,489 14,091 14,190 14,106
Joint 21,641 21,946 23,008 24,090 27,739

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.

Divorce Statistics Per State in Australia (2021)

NSW Vic. Qld SA WA Tas. NT ACT
Total Divorces Granted 17,126 12,766 13,475 3,863 5,989 1,142 461 1,422
Crude Divorce Rate (per 1,000 residents) 2.1 1.9 2.6 2.1 2.2 2.0 1.8 (No data)
% Divorces Involving Children 46.1 47.1 49.8 49.1 49.1 44.4 42.3 52.0

Mirroring marriage rates, New South Wales and Queensland had the highest numbers of divorces granted. Queensland had the largest crude divorce rate of any state in Australia, averaging 2.6 divorces per 1,000 residents. However, ACT’s figures were not accessible, meaning they could contest Queensland for the highest divorce rates.

The ACT was also the only state or territory to have more divorces granted than marriages registered in 2021.

In regard to divorces involving children, unfortunately, it’s the ACT and Queensland that again lead the way (with 52% and 49.8% respectively). The Northern Territory had both the lowest crude divorce rate in Australia, and the lowest proportion of divorces involving children.

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 25/02/2023.