Drop in number of marriages in 2020

PETALING JAYA: The rate of marriages and divorces saw a dip in 2020, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).

In a report released Friday (Dec 3), the department said that 2020 recorded 184,589 marriages, a 9.4% decrease from 203,661 recorded in 2019.

"The median age for brides decreased from 27.0 (2019) to 26.0 (2020). Meanwhile, the median age of grooms remained at 28.0. The decrease in the number of marriages was contributed by a 1.8% decline in the number of Muslim marriages in 2020 (145,202) compared with 2019 (147,847).

“Three areas recorded the highest decline of Muslim marriages. They are Sabah (-19.3%) followed by Labuan (-14.3%) and Selangor (-5.9%)," Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in the statement.

The number of non-Muslim marriages also declined from 55,814 in 2019, to 39,387 in 2020, he added.

He added that the declining rate of marriages here was in tandem with other countries such as Australia, Singapore, Turkey and Palestine.

"In addition, Malaysia’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is now below the replacement level (2.1 children) with 1.7 children per woman aged 15-49 in 2020.

"The TFR is a standard demographic indicator used to estimate the average of children a woman would have over her childbearing years (i.e. aged 15-49).

"This indicates that the average number of babies born per woman throughout her reproductive life has been insufficient to replace herself and her partner," he said.

The movement control order (MCO) implemented last year also contributed to the reduction of marriages, with no solemnisation activities reported during the first extension of the MCO until May 2020.

"Statistics showed that during the implementation of the MCO, the number of marriages dropped significantly by 88.0% in April 2020, from 14,056 (2019) to 1,694."

Divorces in 2020 also saw a decline, with 45,754 recorded last year compared with 55,624 in 2019.

"The decrease was contributed by the number of Muslim divorces which declined by 16.8% in 2020 (37,853) compared with 2019 (45,502).

"The three areas that recorded the highest decline of Muslim divorces were Sabah (-38.9%) followed by Putrajaya (-31.3%) and Kuala Lumpur (-24.5%).

"Similarly, non-Muslim divorces decreased 29.0% from 11,122 (2019) to 7,901 (2020)."

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