Marriage rates halve as Spaniards shun altar

Spanish people are tying the knot later and less often while unions involving at least one foreigner now make up one fifth of all marriages in the country.

Marriage rates halve as Spaniards shun altar
Marriage is no longer as popular as it was in Spain. Photo: Laura Nubuck

Spanish people are losing their interest in getting hitched, a new study into the country's marriage habits shows.

In 2011, the number of marriage in the country sunk to an all-time low at 16,338, the report by Spain´s Women's Institute reveals.

Back in 1975 — the peak moment for Spain in marriage terms — that figure was 271,000.

Women in Numbers — an online government stats bulletin — shows that the marriage rate per 1,000 people was 7.18 in 1976.

But this had slumped to 3.51 three and half decades later in 2011.

Marriages between Spanish people and foreigners are also much more common these days than in the 1970s.

In 1997, this type of union comprised 4.64 percent of the total. But 15 years later in 2011,  more than one in five marriages in Spain involved a non-Spanish citizen.

At the same time, people are also marrying later, according to the study published by the Department of Health, Social Services and Equality.

In 1975, women had an average of 24.38 years when they tied the knot while men were 27.25 years old.

By 2011, however, women were getting hitched at an average age of just over 33.02 years old while men were a tad over 36 years of age.

These figures were pretty much the same for Spanish people and foreigners in 2011.

Another study finding is that people are also far less likely to get married in a Catholic church these days: in 1996, 76 percent of couple said yes before a priest but in 2011 just 39.41 percent did so. 
Divorces, meanwhile, are ticking along at an average 116,365 a year from 1998 to 2011 and most of these (64.31 percent) ended up by mutual consent.
The researchers from the Women's Institute also found that there were 21,784 gay marriage from the middle of 2005 to 2011.

Some 14,000 or so were between men while 7,666 were between women.

There were 897 gay divorces from 2007 to 2011 and 43.37 percent of these had last two years or more.

Some 9.36 percent of the break-ups came in less than a year.  

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