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Divorce Statistics in Australia

Up until World War II, divorce in Australia was relatively rare. While the divorce rate rose steadily between 1940 and 1960, the introduction of the Family Law Act in 1975 was the catalyst for a significant increase in divorce rates.

Crude divorce rate

Since 1994, the crude divorce rate (number of divorces per 1000 people) has remained between 2 and 3, and the length of marriage prior to divorce has averaged at around 12 years.

1980 1995 2000 2004 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
2.7 2.8 2.6 2.6 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.0 2.0

The divorce rate peaked in 1976 with a crude divorce rate of 4.6 per 1000 residents. In total, 63,230 couples were granted divorces.

Average length of marriage

1994 2004 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
10.9 12.3 12.3 12.2 12.2 12.1 12.0 12.1

Figures for 2015

In 2015, there were 48,517 divorces granted in Australia, increasing from 2014, where there were 46,498 divorces. Of these 48,517 divorces:

  • 47.5 per cent involved children
  • 42,303 children experienced their parents going through a divorce
  • 12,178 males applied for the divorce, compared to 15,337 females. Joint applicants made up the difference of 21,002
  • Both parties were born in Australia in more than half the cases

Ages

The median age of divorce applicants also fluctuates from year to year. It seems people are waiting until later in life to file for divorce.

  1980 1990 2000 2004 2010 2014 2015
Male 35.2 38.2 41.4 43.0 44.4 45.2 45.3
Female 32.7 35.3 38.6 40.3 41.5 42.5 42.7

States and territories

Divorces are recorded by the state or territory according to the location of the court that granted the divorce and not the residential state of the applicants.

  NSW VIC QLD SA WA TAS NT ACT AUS
1994 13,999 11,320 9,762 4,192 5,024 1,544 400 2,071 48,312
2004 15,007 12,544 13,279 4,147 4,337 1,404 434 1,595 52,747
2010 14,655 12,368 11,418 3,849 4,835 1,257 429 1,429 50,240
2011 13,917 12,271 11,393 3,506 5,020 1,096 351 1,381 48,935
2012 14,607 12,483 11,317 3,511 5,073 1,161 391 1,374 49,917
2013 13,820 11,663 10,861 3,343 5,268 972 379 1,332 47,638
2014 13,706 11,711 10,699 3,211 4,518 1,009 366 1,278 46,498
2014 14,310 12,155 10,942 3,297 4,992 1,060 397 1,364 48,517

According to these numbers, QLD has the highest crude divorce rate, sitting at 2.3, while NT has the lowest at 1.6 per 1000 residents.