Fewer marriages last year


PETALING JAYA: Marriages and divorces are on the decline, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).

In its latest report, the department said that 2020 recorded 184,589 marriages, a 9.4% decline from the 203,661 recorded in 2019.

“The median age for brides went from 27 years (2019) down to 26 years (2020). Meanwhile, the median age of grooms remains at 28 years. The decrease in the number of marriages was contributed by a 1.8% drop in the number of Muslim marriages in 2020 (145,202) as compared to 2019 (147,847),” DOSM said in the report released yesterday.

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“Three states that recorded the highest decline in Muslim marriages were Sabah (-19.3%), followed by Labuan (-14.3%) and Selangor (-5.9%),” chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in the report.

He added that the declining rate of marriages here is in tandem with other countries and territories 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 years in 2020.”

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

“This indicates that the average number of babies born per woman throughout her reproductive life has been insufficient to replace herself and her partner,” Mohd Uzir explained.

The movement control order implemented last year also contributed to the reduction in 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% in April 2020, from 14,056 (2019) to 1,694 (April, 2020),” he added.

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

“The decrease was contributed by the number of Muslim divorces, which fell by 16.8% in 2020 (37,853) as compared to 2019 (45,502),” said Mohd Uzir.

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

Similarly, non-Muslim divorces dropped 29% from 11,122 (2019) to 7,901 (2020), he added.

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