Since 1964, the marriage rate in the EU has declined from 8.0 per 1 000 people in 1964 to 3.2 in 2020. At the same time, the divorce rate has doubled, increasing from 0.8 per 1 000 people in 1964 to 1.6 in 2020. Interestingly, the divorce rate has decreased in the past decade, from 1.9 per 1 000 people in 2010.
In 2020, some 1.4 million marriages and an estimated 0.7 million divorces took place in the EU, according to the most recent data available for all EU Member States, down from 1.9 million marriages and 0.8 million divorces estimated in 2019. The unprecedented decrease in marriages can be somewhat attributed to the measures related to limiting the spread of COVID-19.
This information comes from data on marriages and divorces published by Eurostat.
Highest number of marriages in Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania
The EU Member States with the highest number of marriages relative to the population were Hungary (6.9 marriages per 1 000 people), Latvia (5.6) and Lithuania (5.5). In contrast, the lowest marriage rates were around 2 marriages per 1 000 inhabitants, which were reported in Italy (1.6), Portugal (1.8), Spain and Ireland (both 1.9).
The largest decreases in marriage rates in 2020 compared with 2019 were recorded in Malta (-3.1 marriages per 1 000 people), Romania (-2.4) and Ireland (-2.2).
Lowest number of divorces in Malta, Slovenia and Italy
In 2020, among EU Member States, the lowest number of divorces relative to the population was registered in Malta (0.5 divorces per 1 000 people), followed by Slovenia (0.8).
By contrast, the highest divorce rates were recorded in Latvia, Lithuania and Denmark (all 2.7 divorces per 1 000 people), Sweden (2.5) and Finland (2.4).
The largest decreases in divorce rates in 2020 compared with 2019 were recorded in Luxembourg (-0.8 divorces per 1 000 people), Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia (all -0.4). The only country that recorded an increase was Denmark (+0.9).
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