The annual release of marriage and divorce statistics by the Australian Bureau of Statistics occurs every year around 27 November. Right on time, the statistics for the full calendar year 2018 were released today at 11.30am. If you’re interested you can find all the information on the ABS website.

Because I am a massive nerd (as we all know) these statistics always fascinate me, and this year is no different. Here’s my highlights for 2018:


  • there were 119,188 marriages in Australia, an increase of 6,234 (5.5%) from 2017
  • 6,538 (5.5%) marriages were between couples who could not marry prior to 9 December 2017
  • this means the increase in marriages is entirely attributable to marriage equality, and I think that’s pretty awesome
  • 69 marriages were registered in which one or both parties identified as neither male nor female (selecting X on the NOIM); they’ve been included in the total marriage numbers but not the same-sex marriage numbers (because they’re not couples who have the same sex/identify as the same gender)
  • slightly less heterosexual couples were married in 2018 (235 less than 2017)


  • the median (middle) age of marrying parties has been slowly creeping up, but there was a greater than usual increase in 2018, which can again be attributed to marriage equality
  • the median age across the board was 32.4 years for males and 30.5 years for females
  • the median age for heterosexual couples was 32.1 years for males and 30.2 years for females
  • the median age for same-sex couples was 44.9 years for males and 39.3 years for females; this is absolutely not surprising given there were many couples marrying after being together for YEARS

Marriage rites

  • 79.7% of marriages (up from 78%) were conducted under the rites of the Marriage Act 1961, i.e. they were civil marriages as opposed to religious marriages
  • unsurprisingly, 98.9% of same-sex marriages were civil


  • there were 72 divorces of same-sex couples (0.1% of all divorces)
  • these were almost certainly all couples that were married overseas before the law changed in Australia, and therefore were not able to access the Australian divorce system previously (you get divorced in the country you live in, not the country you got married in)

There you have it! Sarah’s massively nerdy highlights of the 2018 marriage and divorce statistics. Let me know if you found any other information of interest!