Friday, 9 December 2011

New divorce statistics

The latest divorce statistics were published this week. You can find a breakdown here:-

Interestingly, the number of divorces has gone up for the first time in years. Marriages per head of population peaked in modern times in 1972, ironically just 12 months before the passing of the Matrimonial Causes Act, which has governed divorces for nearly 40 years. Since then, with a couple of minor peaks, marriage has been in continuous decline, especially when linked to the number of people eligible to marry. You can find the figures and a graph here:-

The two graphs look very different. As marriages have steadily fallen per head of population, divorces have risen, held steady and then declined. Now there is the first sign of an increase again. If you look at the two graphs superimposed at the first link, you see a gradual convergence until the last 6 or 7 years. Now it looks as if the convergence may be resuming. Still, one year doesn't make a trend, so only time will tell if the number of divorces is actually going to meet and exceed the number of marriages.
For me, the most interesting and puzzling statistic is to be found here:-

I've had a discussion on Linkedin about this oddity – how can it possibly be that of 114,000-119,000 divorces in the years 2009 and 2010, between 85,000 and 87,000 were carried out with public funding? This leaves just 29,000 to 32,000 to be privately funded and dealt with by private lawyers. As there are several thousand of us, this just doesn't stack up. I know that I don't deal with less than 10 clients during the course of a year! If anyone can explain this puzzle, I shall be fascinated to hear what is actually going on.


  1. Don't you think it is sad to see that divorce rate increasing as time goes. There is vast difference between past stats to present.

  2. It's amazing how statistics vary and tell different stories about divorce. I'm keen to understand how the ABS calculated the cost of divorce to the Australia’s economy at AUD 6bn, how 700,000 Australian children no longer have any meaningful contact with their non-custodial parents and how 1.5 million extended family members are denied access to children. Can we believe the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) finding that divorced single men had an average $762,000 less in assets than non-divorced? More: Family & The Law (Family Law Portal)

  3. Marriage, civil union, and divorce statistics, along with birth and death statistics, are often referred to as ‘vital statistics’. They provide the basic information about the structure of the population and how it changes over time.
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  4. There are very few times in a man's life that he will actually seek help or advice for his own need. There may be a plumbing job he doesn't mind asking about but rarely will he ask for help with his feelings. Getting divorced is probably the only time he will and should get all the help he needs.
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