Belfast Telegraph

Couples wait much longer to wed than 30 years ago

Couples were waiting on average seven years longer to tie the knot in 2018 compared to 30 years ago
Couples were waiting on average seven years longer to tie the knot in 2018 compared to 30 years ago
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Couples were waiting on average seven years longer to tie the knot in 2018 compared to 30 years ago.

Of the 7,966 marriages (roughly one every hour) in 2018 the average age for brides and grooms is now 33.1 and 35.2 years respectively, compared to 25.5 years for brides and 27.7 years for grooms in 1988.

This is one of the findings of the statistics published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

August was the most popular month to get married in 2018 and Saturday, August 18 was the most popular day, with 111 couples having married on that date.

There were 108 civil partnerships registered in 2018 and 15 civil marriages conducted by humanist celebrants.

The report also revealed that the number of births to teenage mothers continues to fall to a record low at 659 (2.9%) out of the total 22,829 births registered in 2018.

This is less than half the number recorded a decade previously (1,426) and 67.9% fewer than three decades ago (2,053).

The average age of first-time mums has continued to increase - up from 24.9 years in 1988 to 28.8 years in 2018.

The average age of all mums has also risen, from 27.6 years to 30.8 years over the last three decades.

Moreover, the average number of children per woman (15-44 years) has reduced from 2.35 to 1.85 between 1988 and 2018.

Of the 22,829 births registered (11,613 males and 11,216 females) almost half (44.5%) occurred outside of marriage, compared to just 16.2% three decades ago.

The number of deaths from suicide in Northern Ireland remains constant with 307 of the 15,922 deaths registered in 2018 compared to 305 in 2017.

Of the 11 local government districts, Belfast remains the area with the highest number of deaths from suicide, with 92 of the total.

Cancer accounted for more than a quarter of all deaths (27.9%).

The estimated population rose by 10,800 people from mid-2017 to reach 1.88 million in the year.

Projections indicate that the population will reach 1.99 million people by mid-2043, with those over 65 projected to overtake children by mid-2028.

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