Divorce, remarriage rates rise significantly


The number of divorced people in Ireland has increased by over 150 per cent in just 10 years reflecting both a higher incidence of marital breakdown and the greater number of couples availing of divorce following a mandatory period of separation.

According to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the number of divorcees stood at 87,770 in 2011, up from 35,059 recorded in the 2002 population census, which was the first census conducted since the legalisation of divorce in Ireland in 1995.

In contrast the number of people identified as separated has levelled off and stood at 116,194, up marginally from 107,263 in 2006.

As divorce in Ireland usually requires a period of separation of up to five years, the CSO said the data reflected both a progression from separation to divorce, combined with new numbers joining the category of separation.

The increase in the number of divorced people has driven the marital breakdown rate - the number of separated and divorced persons as a proportion of those who were ever married-up to 9.7 per from 8.7 per cent recorded five years previously.

The figures for men and women differed with significantly more women than men recorded in both divorce and separation categories.

There were 65,361 separated women compared with 50,833 separated men, and 49,685 divorced women compared with 38,085 divorced men.

 While marital breakdown is on the rise, the proportion of the population who were married remained stable at 37 per cent.

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When broken down on a county-by-county basis, the highest rates of marital breakdown were in the cities, topped by Limerick with a rate of 13.5 per cent followed by Waterford and Dublin with 12.5 per cent 12.4 per cent respectively.

The lowest marital breakdown rates were recorded with Galway County (7.5 per cent), Limerick County (7.9) and Cavan (8.2 per cent).

There has also been sharp rise in the number of people getting re-married following a divorce.

The data on re-marriage showed show that the 2002 figure of 21,400 has more than doubled to 42,960 in 2011.

The number of men getting remarried outstripped women with 24,079 men in the category compared with 18,881 women, partially explaining the lower number of divorced men compared with women.

The number of cohabiting couples is also increasing, but at a slower rate than in previous years. Of the 1.18 million families in Ireland, the figures showed 143,600 were comprised of cohabiting couples, an increase of 21,800 on the 2006 figure.

While the majority (57.8 per cent) of those couples had no children the average the number of children in this family type was rising. There were 0.7 children per cohabiting couple in 2011, up marginally from 0.6 in 2006.

Of those co-habiting couples with children, the increase was some 41 per cent. There was also an increase in the number of children born to lone parents, up 14 per cent between 2006 and 2011.