Divorce Statistics Europe
There are differing divorce rates across the EU mainly due to religious, social,
cultural and legal differences. There is a trend for falling marriage rates and increased marital breakdown
across Europe. The majority of countries are now reporting a drop in the number of marriages. However,
there is some variation across the European Union (EU). Denmark had the highest marriage rate at 6.6
marriages per 1,000 people in 2001, while Sweden had the lowest rate of 4.0. This trend started in northern
Europe, but has since spread throughout western and most of southern Europe. The marriage rate in the United
Kingdom in 2000 was around the EU average at 5.1 per 1,000 people.
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The same trends in marriage and marital breakdown are evident across Europe, with the majority of countries in
the EU reporting a fall in the number of marriages in 2002. This trend started in Northern Europe, but has since
spread throughout Western and most of Southern Europe. In 2002 Denmark had the highest marriage rate at 6.9
marriages per 1,000 people, whereas Belgium had the lowest rate at 3.9 per 1,000 people.
The EU average age at which people first marry is also increasing. In 2001, the average age for women was 28.4
years and 30.6 years for men. This was nearly five years older for women and over four years older for men than in
1971. In 2002 Belgium had the highest divorce rate at 3.0 per 1,000 married people. Italy and Ireland had the
lowest divorce rates both at 0.7 per 1,000 married people.