Divorce rate continues to climb
Straits Times. Nov 18, 1997
THE divorce rate in Singapore continues to climb, with more marriages that were less than 10 years old disintegrating. Couples are also marrying later, with men between the ages of 30 and 34 more likely to get married, compared to men between 25 and 29 years of age.
These figures were revealed in the latest Statistics on Marriages and Divorces for 1996, which were made public over the weekend. The number of divorces here went up by 8.4 per cent, from 4110 in 1995 to 4456 last year. But the increase was not as steep as the 15 per cent rise in divorces between 1994 and 1995.
Of the divorces filed last year, 3368 were between non-Muslim partners who had registered their marriages under the Women's Charter. This is a 7.7 per cent increase from the 3127 non-Muslim divorces in 1995.
The remaining 1088 divorces were between Muslim partners, an increase of 11 per cent from 983 the previous year. The most common reason cited was that the partners had been living separately for three years or more. Unreasonable behaviour by one of the partners was another common reason.
More women than men are also divorcing at a younger age. Of the non-Muslim couples who divorced in 1996, 45 per cent were women below the age of 35. In comparison, non-Muslim men below the age of 35 made up only 29 per cent of those who divorced last year. Similarly, more Muslim women are divorcing at a younger age compared to Muslim men.
About half of the non-Muslim couples and three-fifths of Muslim couples who divorced last year had been married for less than 10 years.
Meanwhile, the trend among Singaporeans to marry at a later age continues. The average age of men marrying for the first time under the Women's Charter rose to an all-time high of 30 years. The average age had ranged around 28 years between 1966 and 1986.
Similarly, the average age of women marrying under the Women's Charter also rose to a record high of 27 years in 1996.
In general, fewer couples married in 1996 compared to 1995. The total number of marriages for 1996 dipped to 24,106 from 24,965 in 1995.
On a more positive note, men between the ages of 30 and 34 are most likely to take the plunge.
Out of 1000 unmarried men between the ages of 30 and 34, 113 were married in 1996. Only 110 out of 1,000 men between the ages of 25 and 29 were married in the same year.