Fewer people tying the knot

Last updated 12:24 05/05/2014

DATED NOTION: With almost half as many couples divorcing as getting married last year - are people more tentative of tying the knot?

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More than 200 same-sex marriages last year were not enough to stop the number of marriages dropping below 20,000 for the first time since 2001.

The first same-sex marriages in New Zealand were carried out last August, following a law change.

Along with the 209 same-sex marriages of NZ residents last year, there were a further 146 same-sex marriages registered in this country to overseas couples.

Publishing the data today, Statistics New Zealand said a total of 2416 marriages registered to overseas couples.

Of the 19,237 marriages involving NZ residents, 13,312 were first marriages, 5825 involved one or both parties being previously married, and 100 couples transferred their civil union to a marriage.

In 2012 there were 20,521 marriages of NZ residents, while between 2003 and 2012 there were an average of 21,108 marriages a year.

On the other side of the register, fewer married couples were divorced in 2013, with 8279 splitting - a rate of 9.4 divorces for every 1000 estimated existing marriages.

Just over a third of couples who married in 1988 had divorced before their 25th wedding anniversary, Statistics New Zealand said.

The median age at which people were married crept up. Men getting married for the first time had a median age of 30.1 while for women the age was 28.6.

For men remarriing after divorce the median age was 48.9 and for women it was 45.5.

The 187 civil unions registered to NZ residents in 2013 included 121 same-sex unions, barely more than half the 235 same-sex civil unions in 2012.

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