BELGIUM: 11,000 fewer marriages in 2020 THE number of divorces is also falling

EUROPE AND ARABE – BRUSSELS

The Belgian statistical office publishes the figures on marriages, divorces and legal cohabitation. In 2020, the health crisis has clearly impacted the partnership, be it a union or a divorce: 32,779 marriages were performed in Belgium, a decrease of 11,491 or 26% compared to 2019. The number of marriages is historically low. Only in the early 20th century was it lower, as a result of the First World War. The number of divorces also fell to 21,300 (-5.1%). So there was no record number of divorces in 2020. In addition, 36,329 declarations of legal cohabitation were reported. That is a decrease of 11% compared to 2019. Marriages drop almost all year round In 2020, 32,779 marriages were performed. This is a decrease of 26% compared to 2019. This decrease was strongest in Wallonia (-30.8%), but was also significant in Brussels (-22.1%) and Flanders (-21.8%). Top 3 municipalities that have performed the most marriages: Brussels-Capital Region 3,325 1. Brussels 531 2. Schaerbeek 456 3. Molenbeek-Saint-Jean 334 Flemish Region 19.145 1. Antwerp 1,808 2. Ghent 927 3. Bruges 360 Walloon Region 7.620 1. Charleroi 423 2. Liege 367 3. Names 245 In 2020, the age at which unmarried partners enter marriage for the first time will continue to rise to an average of 33.4 years for the first spouse and 31.1 years for the second. The age difference within the couple decreases slightly to 2.3 years between the two spouses. We can also look at the extremes of the age categories: in 2020, 87 young people aged 18 and under are married, as well as 640 over 60s. In 2020, 909 same-sex marriages were performed. Most of these marriages were performed in Flanders: 315 marriages between two women and 281 between two men. Wallonia and Brussels follow at a distance. While the summer months were again popular for getting married, 2020 was atypical in this area. However, the year had started well with a record number of marriages in January and February (since 2000): 1,611 in January (+9% compared to January 2019) and 2,690 in February, 44% more than a year earlier. Subsequently, as a result of the lockdown due to COVID-19, the number of marriages that took place in April and May has been divided by three from 2019 and by two in June. After that, all subsequent months were the lowest since 2000, with the exception of July (which was worse in 2013) and October, which caught up with a record 3,729 completed marriages (11% more than in 2019). The number of divorces is falling 2020 was not a record year for divorces. On the contrary, the number of divorces decreased: 21,300 in 2020, or -5.1% compared to 2019. A marriage lasts on average 14.9 years before it is ended by a divorce, which is a slight decrease of 0.1 years compared to 2019. of 2019. While in the first three months of 2020, divorces still followed the trends of previous years, their number fell in April, the month of the lockdown, with 1,000 fewer divorces than in April 2019 (949 in 2020 compared to 1,948 in 2019). The months of June and September show a rather remarkable increase in the number of cases: 33% more divorces in June 2020 than in 2019 and 25% more in September 2020 than in 2019. If we relate the events to the “cohort” of marriages from which they originate, we find that the divorce rate remains constant: four out of ten marriages end in divorce. volume_upcontent_copysharestar_border

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