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It's back to the altar as single life loses edge

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New Census 2011 figures have shown a nine-fold increase in the number of divorced people since 1996, yet marriage is still growing in popularity.

New Census 2011 figures have shown a nine-fold increase in the number of divorced people since 1996, yet marriage is still growing in popularity.

New Census 2011 figures have shown a nine-fold increase in the number of divorced people since 1996, yet marriage is still growing in popularity.

DIVORCE and remarriage are on the up while the single life has become less popular.

New Census 2011 figures have shown a nine-fold increase in the number of divorced people since 1996, yet marriage is still growing in popularity.

Almost 88,000 people living in Ireland are now divorced, compared with less than 10,000 back in 1996, while another 116,000 people are separated.

Another 42,960 people have remarried following divorce, but men are far more likely than women to remarry, particularly as they age.

However, all the break-ups haven't put people off the hope of wedded bliss -- the number of married people in Ireland grew by 9pc since 2006, which was faster than general population growth.

Meanwhile, the proportion of adults who are single fell from 43.1pc to 41.7pc.

Married people now outnumber singletons by over 200,000 -- there are 1.5 million single people and 1.7 million married ones, as well as another 191,000 widowed people.

The latest census report from the Central Statistics Office highlights the changing face of Irish families and households.

Surprisingly, it reveals that single men outnumber single women at every age up until 80.

The gap is quite pronounced in the 30s and 40s with, for example, 15,853 single 35-year-old men compared with 13,298 unmarried women.

Cities are something of a Mecca for singletons as over 60pc of the adult populations of Galway and Dublin are unmarried compared with just half in Roscommon and Leitrim.

The report also shows there are 2,321 male same-sex couples living together compared with 1,721 lesbian pairs, and most of these live in urban areas and are relatively young.

It puts Ireland's baby boom in recent years mainly down to a higher number of families having children, as the average number of children per family has fallen from two in 1991 to 1.4 in 2011.

The census shows that foreign nationals are just as likely to be married as Irish people, but they're also much more likely to get divorced and remarried.

There are 191,059 widowed people in Ireland, but this has fallen from 6.7pc to 5.3pc of the population since 1996 because men are living longer.

Meanwhile, men are proving far more reluctant to fly the nest than women, as they account for 60pc of the 439,478 adult children still living at home.

For women, 32 is the age at which they're more likely to be married than single, but for men it's 34 as they wait longer to wed. The peak age for separation and divorce is 48.

Marriage -- we just can't get enough, Martina DevliN

Irish Independent