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Census reveals continued increase in number of divorces

Newly-released data shows number of divorced people in Ireland increased by more than 150 per cent between 2002 and 2011.

Image: Ernst Vikne via Creative Commons/Flickr

THE NUMBER OF divorced people in Ireland increased by more than 150 per cent between 2002 and 2011, according to the results of Ireland’s most recent census.

The number of divorced people rose from 35, 059 to 87,770 according to the figures, which were part of the first census since the introduction of divorce legislation in the country.

However, in contrast, the number of people identified as “separated” stood at 116,194, marking a marginal increase from 107,263 five years previously. The report points out that, as divorce in Ireland generally requires a period of separation in the first instance of up to five years, the data indicates a progression for people from separation to divorce, combined with new numbers joining the category of separation.

More women than men separated or divorced

The study found that more women than men were separated or divorced – with 65,361 separated women compared with 50,833 separated men, and 49,685 divorced women compared with 38,085 divorced men.

The rate of marital breakdown, calculated as the number of separated and divorced persons as a proportion of those who were ever married, rose from 8.7 per cent in 2006 to 9.7 per cent in 2011.

The three locations with the highest rates of marital breakdown were Limerick city (13.5 per cent), Waterford city (12.5 per cent) and Dublin city (12.4 per cent), while the areas with the lowest rates were Cavan (8.2 per cent), Limerick county (7.9 per cent) and Galway county (7.5 per cent).

The rate of remarriage following divorce more than doubled between 2002 and 2011, increasing from 21,400 to 42,960

Men showed greater tendencies to remarry than women, with 24,079 men in the category compared with 18,881 women – which partially explains the lower number of divorced men compared with women.

Single people

The percentage of single people over the age of 15 fell from 43.1 per cent  in 2006 to 41.7 per cent in 2011.

The were fewer single men (44.3 per cent) than women(39.2 per cent). In terms of location breakdown, the data show there was a higher proportion of single people in urban (45.2 per cent) than in rural (35.8 per cent) areas.

The data for those aged between 40 and 49 was considered separately as a way of measuring the number of people who were likely never to marry. This age-group was chosen as the majority of marriages in Ireland (93 per cent) are between people aged under 40.

The results showed that, as of April 2011, 23.3 per cent of men and 19.4 per cent of women in this age group were single.

The data for urban and rural areas differed sharply, with only 13.4 per cent of women in this age group described as single compared with 23.4 per cent in urban areas; while for men the figures were 20.6 per cent and 25.2 per cent respectively.

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