Divorces in S'pore on the rise with 'unreasonable behaviour' most commonly cited reason by women

Just under two-thirds (63.8 per cent) of civil divorces in 2021 were initiated by women.

Andrew Koay | July 08, 2022, 12:32 AM

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The number of marriages and divorces in Singapore rose in 2021 as compared to 2020 as the country eased its Covid-19 measures.

According to a Department of Statistics (DOS) report released on Jul. 6, a total of 28,329 civil and Muslim marriages were registered in 2021.

It represented a 25.1 per cent increase from 22,651 marriages registered in 2020.

Additionally, there was a total of 7,890 marital dissolutions in 2021, a 13.4 per cent increase from the year before.

While the DOS pointed out that the rate of divorce was lower in 2021 than in 2011, the five-year average between 2017 to 2021 was marginally higher than the average for the years 2012 to 2016.

The annual average number of marital dissolutions between 2017 and 2021 was 7,479, similar to the average of 7,441 in the preceding five-year period. Image from the Department of Statistics Singapore

Most divorces initiated by women

Some two-thirds (63.8 per cent) of civil divorces in 2021 were initiated by women.

This figure is slightly lower when compared to 2011, where 64.7 per cent of civil divorces were initiated by women.

Amongst the reasons cited by females for divorce in 2021, "unreasonable behaviour" was the top main reason.

"Live apart/ separated for three years or more" was the top reason cited by males.

Marriage trends

Meanwhile, despite marriages rebounding from the abnormally low number of registrations in 2020, the five-year average for marriages between 2017 to 2021 was lower than the preceding five years.

The annual average number of marriages registered in the last five years (26,327), which was dampened largely due to the drop in 2020, remained lower than the annual average registered between 2012 and 2016 (27,778). Image from the Department of Statistics Singapore

The DOS also found that Singaporeans are now waiting longer before tying the knot with the medium age at first marriage for brides (29.1 years) and grooms (30.5 years) having increased over the past two decades.

Diversity within marriages

Amongst the registered civil marriages in 2021, 16.2 per cent were between two individuals of different ethnicities.

This represents the second year in a row that the rate of inter-ethnic civil marriages has fallen.

On the other hand, marriages between individuals with similar qualifications are on an upward trend, rising from 66.2 per cent in 2011 to 69.5 per cent in 2021.

The proportion of marriages involving a higher-educated bride and lower-educated groom was 18.2 per cent in 2021, an increase from 17.5 per cent in 2011.

In contrast, the share involving higher-educated grooms and lower-educated brides fell from 16.3 per cent to 12.3 per cent over the same period.

Top image by Jeremy Wong Photography via Unsplash