40,836 marriages in 2021
In 2021, 40,836 marriages were performed in Belgium, a notable increase of 25% compared to 2020. That year, only 32,779 couples got married as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. However, there were still 3,434 fewer marriages in 2021 than in 2019, while the number of marriages has been stable around 45,000 every year since 2014.
The increase was greatest in the Walloon Region (+41%). In Wallonia, the fall in the number of marriages was most pronounced in 2020.
Logically, the following year saw the biggest catch-up. In the Flemish Region, the number of marriages increased by 13%, in the Brussels-Capital Region by 22%, to pre-Covid levels.
|Top 3 municipalities that performed the most marriages by region||2020||2021||2021/2020|
Age of first marriage continues to rise
In 2021, the age at which unmarried partners enter marriage for the first time continued to rise to an average of 33.6 years for the first spouse and 31.3 years for the second. The age difference in the couple remains stable: 2.3 years for spouses.
We can also look at the extremes of the age categories: in 2021, 93 young people aged 18 and under got married, as well as 661 people over the age of 60.
In 2021, 1087 marriages were performed between same-sex partners. Most of these marriages were performed in Flanders: 355 marriages between two women and 289 between two men. Wallonia and Brussels follow at a distance.
|Marriage between two women||Marriage between two men|
|Source: Statbel (Directorate-general Statistics - Statistics Belgium)|
Purpose and brief description
The statistic contains all marriages that have been contracted before the civil registrar of the Belgian municipalities, but not the marriages that have been contracted abroad. All these marriages are broken down by the municipality of the marriage but also by the municipality of residence of both spouses before the marriage. This way, we know the marriages of people who live abroad. The various tables present the evolution of the number of marriages since 1990 as well as the annual figures broken down according to the place of marriage per region and per province and according to the place of residence per month, per region and per province. They also show the evolution of the number of persons involved in a same-sex marriage per province. But this statistic has another source...
Timing of publication
Results available 8 months after the reference period.
The gross marriage rate is the ratio between the number of marriages contracted during the year where at least one person was living in Belgium on the day of the marriage and the average total population (on 30 June) of the same year.
The gross divorce rate is the ratio between the number of divorces registered during the year and relating to at least one person residing in Belgium at the time of the divorce and the average total population (on 30 June) of the same year.
Municipality of marriage: Municipality where the marriage is contracted and registered in the civil register.
Month of marriage: Month of the marriage, from the date of the marriage.
Place of residence of the first spouse: Municipality (or country) of residence of the first spouse at the time of marriage.
Place of residence of the second spouse: Municipality (or country) of residence of the second spouse at the time of marriage.
Age of the first spouse: Age of the first spouse at marriage, expressed in completed years, calculated as the difference between the date of the marriage and the date of birth.
Age of the second spouse: Age of the second spouse at marriage, expressed in completed years, calculated as the difference between the date of marriage and the date of birth.
Nationality of the first spouse: Country of the first spouse’s nationality.
Nationality of the second spouse: Country of the second spouse’s nationality.
Civil status of the first spouse: Civil status of the first spouse before the marriage.
Civil status of the second spouse: Civil status of the second spouse before the marriage.
In the framework of the administrative simplification and in application of the Law of 5 May 2014 on the establishment of the principle of the unique data collection (Only Once), the Directorate-General Statistics – Statistics Belgium decided in 2015 to no longer use the bulletins of the FPS Home Affairs to produce statistics on marriages and divorces, but to use data from the National Register (RNPP) for this purpose. As a result of this source change, the marriage and divorce forms could be abolished (Royal Decree of 19 February 2016). But it also brought about important changes in the statistic produced:
- Registration of the gender of spouses, allowing a distinction to be made between types of marriages and divorces;
- Processing in a statistic in law of the events that took place abroad concerning persons residing in Belgium;
- The identification of divorces that have been granted and registered in Belgium and that put an end to the marriages that have been contracted abroad gives a better approach to divorces.
2016 is the first year in which the RNPP is the exclusive source of the statistic. But using the RNPP also makes it possible to produce comprehensive statistics for 2015, as well as a large number of data for 2014, which makes a comparison with previous statistics on civil status possible.
In the case of divorces, the use of the RNPP makes it possible to identify those divorces that put an end to a marriage that was contracted abroad. The large majority of these marriages are registered in Brussels-Capital. In 2016, 3,666 divorces were granted in Belgium or abroad (15.5 % of the total), which put an end to the same number of marriages contracted abroad. They are therefore included in the calculation of the gross divorce rate, which has fallen slightly (2.1 ‰, for 2.2 ‰ in 2015); but they are excluded from the calculation of the total divorce rate.