Marriage age jumps nine years since 1977

Bride and grooms are now almost nine years older getting married than they were 35 years ago, according to figures released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office.

Last year, the average age of grooms was 34.9 years, compared to 26.2 years in 1977. It increased by 0.2 years compared to the average age in 2012.

Likewise, the average age of a bride last year was 32.8 years, compared to 24 years in 1977.

The number of marriages registered last year was 20,680 — a fall of just 33 compared to the 20,713 in 2012.

The figures also reveal a variation between civil and church ceremonies. The average age of the groom in civil marriages last year was 37.6 years and the average age of the groom in Catholic marriages was 33.4 years.

Similarly, the average age of the bride in civil marriages was 35 years and the average age of the bride in Catholic marriages was 31.7 years.

August was the most popular month of the year to get married last year, while Friday and Saturday were the most popular days of the week, with seven out of 10 marriages occurring on these days. Sunday was the least popular day with only 313 couples choosing this day to wed.

Civil marriages accounted for more than 29% of all marriages, up 1.5% from 2012. Catholic marriage ceremonies accounted for more than 62% of all marriages in 2013, down almost 3% from 2012.

In almost two-thirds (63%) of marriages, the groom was older than the bride across all age groups, except in the case of grooms under 25, where the bride was older in nearly 41% of marriages.

More than 88% (18,241) of marriages were the first marriage for both the groom and bride. There were 2,230 marriages involving at least one divorced person in 2013.

In 2012, Lithuania had the highest marriage rate in the EU — 6.9 per 1,000 people. Bulgaria had the lowest rate, with 2.9 marriages per 1,000 people.

Ireland, along with Greece and Estonia, was ranked ninth with a rate of 4.5 per 1,000 people in 2013, the same rate as in 2012.

There were 338 civil partnership ceremonies in 2013, with 208 male unions and 130 female unions. Lesbian couples tended to enter into civil unions at a later age than their male counterparts, the CSO figures show.

The average age of partners in civil partnership couples was 39.3 years. The average age of male partners was 38.5 while the average age of female partners was 40.6.

Almost 74% of these same-sex couples live in the Leinster area, with 41% of same-sex partnerships living in Dublin city and a further 22% residing in the greater Dublin area.

Excluding the Dublin area, Cork County had the highest number of civil partnerships registered last year with 18. It accounted for more than 5% of all civil partnerships.


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