More divorces than marriages, figures reveal

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The number of divorces was higher than the number of marriages in the Newtownabbey borough last year, it has emerged.

Figures released by the Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) have detailed the number of marriages, divorces and civil partnerships throughout Northern Ireland in 2012.

And the report showed that while there were 179 marriages, the borough had the third highest rate of divorce out of the 26 local council areas, behind Derry and Belfast.

There were 264 new divorcees in Newtownabbey in 2012 – 125 male and 139 female.

The report also revealed that the average bride getting married in Newtownabbey was 31 years old, while the average groom clocked in at 33.1 years old.

Of the 179 marriages registered in the borough, 39 were Presbyterian, 34 were civil marriages, 37 were Catholic, 34 were Church of Ireland, 15 were Methodist, and the rest were other denominations.

In total, there were more than 8,400 marriages across Northern Ireland, whilst the number of divorces recorded was just over 2,400.

The report also shows that over the last decade, civil ceremonies have become increasingly popular, making up almost a third of all marriages last year.

The average age of brides and grooms continues to be approximately five years older than their counterparts two decades ago. Last year the average groom was nearly 34 years old and the “average” bride almost 32.

The most popular day to get married last year was Saturday, August 25, with just over 113 couples getting married on that date.

There were 101 same-sex civil partnerships registered in 2012.

Dr David Marshall from NISRA said: “Last year saw more than 8,400 marriages in Northern Ireland. An interesting point is that around one quarter of those took place outside a religious building or registry office in an approved venue. Civil marriages at such venues only became possible following a change in the law in 2004.”

The 2012 statistics are provisional until final figures are published in the annual report of the Registrar General.