More marriages took place in 2017, with nearly a quarter of them inter-ethnic

The Registry of Civil Marriages and Registry of Muslim Marriages at Canning Rise. Inter-ethnic marriages increased to 22.1 per cent of total marriages last year. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Wedding bells rang for more people last year, with inter-ethnic couples making up nearly a quarter of the 28,212 registered marriages.

Last year, 22.1 per cent of total marriages were inter-ethnic, continuing an upward trend from 16.4 per cent in 2007, according to the Statistics on Marriages and Divorces 2017 report, which was released by the Singapore Department of Statistics on Tuesday (July 10).

The total number of marriages edged up 0.9 per cent from the 27,971 in 2016, mainly due to a rise in both civil and Muslim marriages.

In addition, the general marriage rate for both unmarried men and women has gone up.

Meanwhile, slightly fewer couples split up last year than in the previous year.

There were 7,578 marriages that ended in a divorce or an annulment, a 0.5 per cent decrease from the 7,614 marital dissolutions in 2016.

This was due to a decline in Muslim divorces, which more than offset the slight increase in civil divorces.

There were 6.9 male divorcees for every 1,000 married males aged 20 and above last year, lower than the rate of 7.1 in 2016.

Similarly, the general divorce rate for females was 6.5 per 1,000 married females aged 20 years and above last year, down from 6.6 in the previous year.

Statistics also showed that more women were getting married later in the past decade, with the median age for first-time brides at 28.4 years last year. This was up from 27.2 years in 2007.

This has helped to narrow the gender age gap in couples, with the median age of first-time grooms relatively stable since 2007.

The figure fell to 30 years last year, after rising from 29.8 years in 2007 to 30.3 years in 2016.

However, both men and women have sought divorces later in life in the past decade.

The median age for male divorcees was 43.2 years in 2017, up from 39.8 years in 2007. The median age for female divorcees was 39.1 years in 2017, up from 36.1 years in 2007.

The median duration of marriage for divorces was longer last year at 10.3 years, a rise from 9.6 years in 2007.

Last year, couples who were married for five to nine years accounted for the largest share - 30.2 per cent - of all divorces.

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