Marriages

Marriages down for most of the year

Population
Marriages down for most of the year

In 2020, 31,779 marriages were contracted. This represents a 26% decrease compared to 2019. This decrease is more pronounced in Wallonia (-30.8%), but was also significant in Brussels (-22.1%) and in Flanders (-21.8%).

 

 

 

 

 

Top 3 municipalities with the most marriages:

Brussels-Capital Region 3,325
1.      Brussels 531
2.      Schaerbeek 456
3.      Molenbeek-Saint-Jean 334
Flemish Region 19,145
1.      Antwerp 1,808
2.      Ghent 927
3.      Bruges 360
Walloon Region 7,620
1.      Charleroi 423
2.      Liège 367
3.      Namur 245

In 2020, the age at which single partners get married for the first time continues to increase, to 33.4 years on average for the first partner and 31.1 for the second. The age difference within the couple slightly decreases to 2.3 years between the spouses. We can also look at the extremes of the age categories: in 2020, 87 young people aged 18 or under got married, as well as 640 people over 60.

In 2020, 909 marriages were contracted between same-sex partners. Most of them in Flanders: 315 marriages between two women and 281 between two men. Wallonia and Brussels follow at a distance.

  Marriage between two women Marriage between two men
Belgium (total) 449 460
Brussels-Capital Region 32 77
Flemish Region 315 281
Walloon Region 89 79

Although the summer months were once again the most popular to get married, 2020 was an unusual year. The year had gotten off to a good start, with record numbers of marriages in January and February (since 2000): 1,611 in January (+9% compared to January 2019) and 2,690 in February, i.e. 44% more than a year earlier. Then, due to the Covid-19-related lockdown, the number of marriages contracted in April and May was divided by three compared to 2019 and by two in June. Then, all the following months were the lowest since 2000 except for July (which was worse in 2013) and October where there was some catching up with a record of 3,729 marriages celebrated (11% more than in 2019).

Visualisation
Content
Table
Content
  2014* 2015* 2016* 2017* 2018* 2019* 2020*
Belgium 44.858 45.005 44.725 44.319 45.059 44.270 32.779
Brussels-Capital Region 4.019 4.118 4.046 4.022 3.997 4.271 3.325
Flemish Region 24.619 24.774 24.948 24.982 25.509 24.483 19.145
Walloon Region 11.092 10.993 11.042 10.901 10.940 11.019 7.620
Source: Statbel (Directorate-general Statistics - Statistics Belgium)
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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...

Population

All marriages

Frequency

Annually

Timing of publication

Results available 8 months after the reference period.

Definitions

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.

Remarks

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.