Sunday 23 September 2018

Ireland 2030: Later marriage, fewer babies and more divorce

CHANGING TIMES: Couples are predicted to get married later and the nation’s matrimonial rate is also set to decline. Stock picture
CHANGING TIMES: Couples are predicted to get married later and the nation’s matrimonial rate is also set to decline. Stock picture

Lynne Kelleher

Ireland's marriage rate is expected to drop to a record low by 2030, according to a new report.

The nation's matrimonial rate is predicted to decline from 4.9 marriages per 1,000 in 2017 to the lowest ever rate of four per 1,000 in 2030 - 60pc lower than the rate of 6.4 in 1980.

A new Euromonitor report on Ireland's future population also predicted that people will wait until they are older to tie the knot in 2030.

The average age at first marriage for men will be 32.4 years and for women it will be 31.2 years - over five years later than it was in 1980.

Meanwhile, the number of divorced people in the population is predicted to rise slightly to reach 4.9pc by 2030 - much lower than the Western Europe average of 6.6pc.

"Divorce in Ireland was legalised for the first time in 1996, and the divorce rate peaked in 2006 at 0.9 divorces per 1,000," said the Euromonitor International report.

"In 2030, the rate is expected to reach 0.6 per 1,000, up from 0.5 in 2017."

Euromonitor International's economic and consumer data manager Ramune Verikaite said the expected fall in Irish marriage rates in the future is due to a drop in the numbers of those of typical marrying age.

He said: "People in Ireland usually get married around their 30s.

"Looking at population by age, we can observe that the share of population aged 25-34 in total population will be decreasing over the next decade.

"It is mainly caused by low birth generations coming to fertile and marital age. Low numbers of such people means lower number of births as well as marriages.

"Due to this reason, marriage as well as birth rate in Ireland should be decreasing."

The report, Ireland in 2030: The Future Demographic, said on average women in Ireland will have their first child at 29.6 years in 2030 - nearly five years later than in 1980.

Mr Verikaite said the slight increase in divorces in another 12 years was due to a bump in the number of marriages in more recent years in Ireland.

He said: "Divorce is a cancellation of marriage, thus it is related to marriage.

"This relationship has a lag because people usually divorce after 10 years of marriage, at least in Europe.

"Taking this into account in addition to longer process of divorce inherent for Ireland, the divorce rate rise around 2030 is caused by a slight increase in marriages occurring now."

Our divorce rate is far lower than the Western Europe average.

Mr Verikaite said: "The main reason is related to a constitutional ban on divorce revoked only in 1995. The divorce process is long.

"Couples can divorce if they have lived separately and apart for four out of the previous five years."

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News