Since 1964, the marriage rate in the EU has declined from 8.0 per 1 000 people in 1964 to 3.2 in 2020. At the same time, the divorce rate has doubled, increasing from 0.8 per 1 000 people in 1964 to 1.6 in 2020. Interestingly, the divorce rate has decreased in the past decade, from 1.9 per 1 000 people in 2010.
In 2020, some 1.4 million marriages and an estimated 0.7 million divorces took place in the EU, according to the most recent data available for all EU Member States, down from 1.9 million marriages and 0.8 million divorces estimated in 2019. The unprecedented decrease in marriages can be somewhat attributed to the measures related to limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Highest number of marriages in Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania
The EU Member States with the highest number of marriages relative to the population were Hungary (6.9 marriages per 1 000 people), Latvia (5.6) and Lithuania (5.5). In contrast, the lowest marriage rates were around 2 marriages per 1 000 inhabitants, which were reported in Italy (1.6), Portugal (1.8), Spain and Ireland (both 1.9).
Source dataset: demo_nind
The largest decreases in marriage rates in 2020 compared with 2019 were recorded in Malta (-3.1 marriages per 1 000 people), Romania (-2.4) and Ireland (-2.2).
Lowest number of divorces in Malta, Slovenia and Italy
In 2020, among EU Member States, the lowest number of divorces relative to the population was registered in Malta (0.5 divorces per 1 000 people), followed by Slovenia (0.8).
By contrast, the highest divorce rates were recorded in Latvia, Lithuania and Denmark (all 2.7 divorces per 1 000 people), Sweden (2.5) and Finland (2.4).
Source dataset: demo_ndivind
The largest decreases in divorce rates in 2020 compared with 2019 were recorded in Luxembourg (-0.8 divorces per 1 000 people), Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia (all -0.4). The only country that recorded an increase was Denmark (+0.9).
For more information:
- Statistics Explained article on marriage and divorce statistics
- Dedicated section on demography, population stock and balance
- Database on demography, population stock and balance
- Cyprus: 2020 data on crude marriage rate not available. As a result, the EU aggregate has been estimated.
- Ireland, Greece, France and Cyprus: 2020 data on crude divorce rate not available. As a result, the EU aggregate has been estimated.
- Part of the increase in the divorce rate may be because in several EU Member States divorce was legalised during the 1964-2019 period (e.g. in Italy, Spain, Ireland and Malta).
- Part of the decrease in the marriage rate may be because of the measures related to limiting the spread of COVID-19.
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