New Zealanders waiting longer before marriage

New Zealanders are marrying later than in the past.

Statistics from the 2013 census released on 5 May show that in 2013, the median age at first marriage was 30.1 years for men and 28.6 years for women – up from 27.3 and 25.2 years in 1993.

Although the median age at first marriage has increased over the last 20 years, most of the increase occurred before 2004 and the median age has remained relatively constant since then.

In 1971, when marriage rates peaked, the median age at first marriage was 23.0 years for men and 20.8 years for women.

Other Key Facts


  • Fewer New Zealand residents married; New Zealand residents registered 19,237 marriages in the December 2013 year down from 20,521 in 2012. Between 2003 and 2012, the annual number of resident marriages averaged 21,108.
  • Of the 19,237 marriages were registered to New Zealand residents 209 were same-sex marriages.
  • There were 13,312 first marriages, 5,825 remarriages, and 100 couples (both same-sex and opposite-sex) who transferred their civil union to a marriage.
  • The general marriage rate was 10.9 marriages per 1,000 not-married population aged 16 years and over.
  • An additional 2,416 marriages were registered to overseas residents – of these, 146 were same-sex marriages.


  • 8,279 married couples were granted divorces in New Zealand.
  • There were 9.4 divorces for every 1,000 estimated existing marriages.
  • Annual divorce statistics do not give a complete picture of the number of marriages ending in divorce.

Analysis of divorce statistics by year of marriage shows that just over one-third (35 percent) of New Zealanders who married in 1988 had divorced before their silver wedding anniversary (25 years). This compares with 32 percent for those who married in 1978, and 26 percent for those who married in 1968.

Civil unions

  • 187 civil unions were registered to New Zealand residents – of these, 121 were same-sex unions.
  • 46 civil unions were registered to overseas residents.
  • 40 couples dissolved their civil union.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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