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Press release

Marriages, separations and divorces

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In 2014, there were 189,765 marriages in Italy, about 4,300 fewer than in 2013. This decrease is part of a downward trend in marriages: in the 2009-2014 period there was a decline of nearly 57,000 weddings.

The drop in marriages is partially due to the decline in the absolute number of young adults. The latter is in turn attributable to the sharp reduction in fertility occurred after the 1970s. Young Italians aged 16-34 accounted for less than 11 million in 2014 (-1.3 million compared to 2008).

In 2014 the marriage rates declined as well. In particular the first marriage rate was 421 per 1,000 men and 463 per 1,000 women. Compared to 2008 it has declined by close to 18.7% and 20.2% respectively in relative terms. This drop was even more noticeable (25%) if we consider first marriages among people aged up to 35 years.

Men and women are getting married increasingly later in life. In 2014, the mean age at first marriage was 34 for men and 31 for women (that is one year older compared to 2008).

Civil ceremonies accounted for 43% of all marriages in 2014. Both in the North and in the Centre areas of Italy, civil marriages exceeded those with religious ceremonies, respectively 55% and 51%. Civil ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular for marriages with both Italian partners marrying for the first time (28.1%).

Marriages with at least one foreign spouse are about 24 thousand (12.8% of all weddings). Their decline is due to the decrease of marriages involving foreign partners.

According to the most recent data, marital disruption  is roughly stable over time. In 2014 there were 89,303 legal separations (+0.5% compared to 2013) and 52,335 divorces (-0.6% compared to 2013). 72.3% legally separated and 64.6% of divorced couples had one or more children. 89.4% of parents agree to have joint custody of their children after legal separation.

The average length of marriage ending in legal separation is 16 years and the trend towards marital disruption intensifies with more recent marriages. Marriages ended in separation within 10 years have almost doubled. They were 4.5% of all marriages celebrated in 1985, compared to 11% of those celebrated in 2005.

The average age at legal separation is 47 for men and 44 for women, while that of people divorcing was 48 and 45 respectively. The average age at union disruption continues to rise, and much of this trend appears due to the postponement of marriage to later ages. It is worth noting  the increase of legal separation with at least one partner over 60 (7.5% in 2014).

The dynamics of nuptiality and marital disruption varies greatly from region to region. Their analysis strongly suggests the presence of a geographical gradient, with first marriages with civil ceremony among Italian couples, legal separations and divorces more common in the more secularised regions in the North area than in the South and Islands areas.

DATA VISUALIZATION. The process of family secularisation in ItalyThe process of family secularisation
click the image for the interactive choropleth maps

Reference period: Year 2014

Date of Issue: 12 November 2015



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