Fewer marriages since the 1970s, more and more marriages in summer since WWII

Fewer marriages since the 1970s, more and more marriages in summer since WWII

Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes for the first time a historical series on the monthly marriages in Belgium from 1850 until now. The figures used in this press release are based on the civil registry forms up to and including 2013; from 2014 onwards, they come from the National Register[1].

In 2019, there were 44,270 marriages in Belgium; that is 3.9 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants. In the year 2020, this was a lot lower (2.9) because of the Covid-19 crisis. 90 years before, in 1929, 71,811 Belgian couples married, i.e.9.0 marriages per 1000 inhabitants. In the years immediately after both world wars, the number of marriages peaked: for example, 14.1 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants in 1920 and 10.9 in 1946.
The graph below also shows that since the 1970s, the number of marriages per 1,000 inhabitants has been steadily and systematically declining.

Marriages in the past and now

Until WWII, marriages were much more spread out over the whole year, with a small peak during the months of April and May. After the war, this changed and the months of July and August became increasingly the favourite wedding months.

Since the 1970s, there has also been an increasing tendency to marry in June and/or September, with fewer weddings taking place in the month of April. Finally, it is noteworthy that during the war years 40-45, there were temporarily more weddings in October, November and December...

[1] During the First World War, the data were not produced.