The number of Australians tying the knot has hit a 20-year high, reversing the trend for an institution that appeared to be going out of fashion only a few years ago, according to official data.
The figures show 118,756 marriages were registered in Australia last year, up 2.1 percent on 2007 and more than 12 percent on the recent low of about 104,000 in 2001.
AdvertisementThe Australian Bureau of Statistics said the increasing popularity of marriage coincided with a fall in the number of divorces, which hit a 20-year low of 47,209 in 2008.
The data, released Monday, showed almost 80 percent of couples lived together before going down the aisle and the average age of people getting married was increasing, now 29.6 for men and 26.3 for women.
Analysts said the fact that couples were waiting until they were more mature before committing to marriage may explain the falling divorce rate.
"Basically, we're much more cautious and we're also now much more knowledgeable about the negative effects of divorce than we used to be," Relationships Australia vice president Anne Hollonds told public broadcaster ABC.
"There's been a lot more research that's been publicly discussed in the last decade, particularly about the negative effects on children."
Almost two-thirds of couples were married in a civil ceremony, rather than at a church or other place of worship, with November the most popular month to get hitched.
"Marriage hasn't gone out of fashion, people still want to get married" Australian Institute of Family Studies director Alan Hayes told the Australian newspaper.
"It's consistent with the institute's research, which indicates the majority of men and women across all ages endorse marriage as an institution."