Marriages: decrease in Flanders, increase in Brussels, status quo in Wallonia
44,270 marriages were contracted in 2019, i.e. a slight decrease of 1.8 % compared to the previous year. This decrease is entirely due to Flanders (-4.0 %). In the Brussels-Capital Region, the number of marriages is on the rise (+6.9 %). In Wallonia, the evolution is fairly stable (+0.7 %).
In 2019, there were 234 first spouses and 79 second spouses aged over 75 respectively at the time of the marriage, while for the age group 15-19 there were 80 first spouses and 421 second spouses.
In 2019, it is still around the age of thirty that single people marry for the first time, at 33.2 years for the first spouse and at 30.8 years for the second. The age difference in the couple remains stable: 2.4 years.
The summer months are once again popular to get married: 51.7 % of marriages are contracted during this period.
|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.