More getting married in civil ceremonies, figures showTuesday, June 5th, 2012
Over a quarter of marriages conducted in Ireland in 2009 were civil marriages, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The figures, contained in a report entitled Marriages 2009, show that 28.7 per cent of all marriages were civil ceremonies, an increase of 17 per cent compared 2008. However, among people getting married for the first time, this figure dropped to 21 per cent. Conversely, a third of civil marriages involved at least one divorced person.
Almost half of people marrying in Dublin City married in civil ceremonies. This dropped to 10.5 per cent in Donegal.
Overall, there were 21,627 marriages in 2009, 14,624 of which were carried out in Catholic churches, and 6,214 of which were civil marriages. The balance was accounted for by other religious ceremonies, with two per cent being carried out by the Church of Ireland, and one per cent in Presbyterian churches.
The figures mark a big shift in Irish society. In 1994, only five per cent of marriages or 850, were civil marriages, while 91 per cent of marriages were Catholic. By 2002, however, there were 3,683 civil marriages, 17.9 per cent of all marriages that year, with 77 per cent of all marriages that year being Catholic marriages.
Civil marriage ceremonies were the most common form of ceremony for grooms aged 45 and over, and for brides aged 40 and over in 2009.
In marriage ceremonies, where the bride was aged 40 or over, civil marriages accounted for 69 per cent of ceremonies, while the comparable figure for grooms in the same age category was just over 60 per cent. This is because most people in this category were divorced and therefore could not remarry in Catholic churches.
The average age of grooms and brides in 2009 was 34.0 and 31.8 respectively. The average age of grooms marrying for the first time was 32.7 years. The average age among widowers was 56.2 years, and the average age among divorced men was 47.4 years.
The average age of the groom in 2009, in Catholic marriages, was 32.7 years and the average age of the groom in civil marriages was 37.0 years. The average age of the bride in Catholic marriages was 30.9 years and the average age of the bride in civil marriages was 34.1 years.
For brides, women marrying for the first time had an average age of 30.9 years, widows 50.9 years, and divorced women 43.5 years. In 2009, almost four per cent of grooms were under the age of 25, 27 per cent were aged 25-29, 37 per cent were aged 30-34 and the remaining 32 per cent were aged 35 and over, on their wedding day.
For brides, over eight per cent were under the age of 25, 36 per cent were aged 25-29, 34 per cent were aged 30-34 and the remaining 22 per cent were aged 35 and over, on their wedding day.
At a provincial level, Ulster had the lowest average age for grooms and brides with 33.2 and 30.7 years respectively. Laois was the county with the lowest average age for grooms and brides at 32.1 and 30.1 years respectively. At the other end of the scale Dun Laoghaire Rathdown had the highest, with an average age of 35.7 years for grooms and 33.4 years for brides.
In 2009, 88% (18,945) of marriages were the first marriage for both the bride and groom. However, there were 19,806 (91.6%) grooms and 20,134 (93.1%) brides marrying for the first time. There were 203 (0.9%) widowers and 159 (0.7%) widows who re-married in 2009. Divorced men accounted for 7.5% (1,618) of grooms while divorced women accounted for 6.2% (1,334) of brides.
There were 2,470 marriages involving at least one divorced person in 2009, including 482 marriages where both parties were divorced.
Civil ceremonies accounted for 2,056 of these marriages, 284 were Roman Catholic ceremonies, and 130 were other religious ceremonies.
Almost nine per cent of grooms in the southeast region were divorced men, the highest proportion in the country. In contrast, only five per cent of grooms in the west region were divorced. For brides the pattern was similar, the highest proportion of divorcees was in the southeast region (8.5 per cent) while the lowest proportion was in the West (5 per cent).
There were 3,341 divorces granted by the Circuit Court and by the High Court in 2009. This was a decrease of 289 on the 2008 figure.
In 2009, Cyprus had the highest crude marriage rate in the EU 27 with a rate of 7.9 per 1,000 population and Slovenia had the lowest with a marriage rate of 3.2 per 1,000 population.
Ireland, with a rate of 4.8 per 1,000 of the population was ranked 11th and was higher than the European average of 4.5 (EU 27).
by Tom O'Gorman