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Happy couple hotspots

Marriage is a tradition that many people choose to embrace. However in recent years, some couples have been more likely to get married later in life*, often waiting until they’ve had children. More marriages are also ending in divorce.

Where in the world are couples most likely to stay together? To find out here’s a look at the countries with the most marriages and where couples are least likely to get divorced. Whatever your own relationship status, you can still protect your loved ones if anything were to happen to you by comparing life insurance quotes.

Couple in love lying on the floor surrounded by paper hearts, looking at each other

 

The countries with the lowest divorce rates

Top 3 countries with the lowest divorce rates

1. Malta - 0.5 per 1,000 people

Looking just at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Malta is where couples are most likely to stay together. Here, the divorce rate is just 0.5 per 1,000 people.

Divorce was only legalised in Malta in 2011, and rates are at their lowest since. There was an initial boom in 2012 when there were 1.1 divorces per 1,000 people, but this steadily declined and is now 0.5. That’s around 3.5 times lower than in the UK.

2. Republic of Ireland - 0.7 per 1,000 people

There are 2 countries tied in second place, the first of which is the Republic of Ireland. One of the possible reasons for this is that couples must prove that they’ve been living apart for 4 years before getting divorced. This obviously makes it harder for couples to get divorced, which could mean they’re less likely to do so.

Also, many couples in Ireland are choosing to simply live together without getting married in the first place. As of the latest Irish census (2016), there were 75,587 cohabiting couples, an increase of 25.4% compared to the previous census 5 years earlier**.

2. Mexico - 0.7 per 1,000 people

Also with a divorce rate of 0.7 per 1,000 people is Mexico. While the divorce rate in Mexico remains low, it has been increasing over the last 2 decades or so.

The rate increased from 0.4 per 1,000 people in 1993 to 1.3 in 2019, before dropping to 0.7 in 2020. This change in 2020 is likely to have been influenced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rank Country Divorces per 1,000 people
1
Malta
0.5
2
Republic of Ireland
0.7
2
Mexico
0.7
4
Slovenia
0.8
5
Italy
1.1
6
Romania
1.2
7
Bulgaria
1.3
7
Croatia
1.3
9
Poland
1.4
10
Hungary
1.5
10
New Zealand
1.5
10
Slovakia
1.5
13
Japan
1.6
13
Spain
1.6
13
Turkey
1.6
16
Austria
1.7
16
Germany
1.7
16
Netherlands
1.7
16
Portugal
1.7
16
United Kingdom
1.7
 

The countries with the most marriages

Top 3 countries with the most marriages

1. Cyprus - 8.9 per 1,000 people

When looking at where marriage is most common, Cyprus tops the list. Cyprus saw 8.9 marriages per 1,000 people over the course of 2019. As the birthplace of Aphrodite in Greek mythology, Cyprus is referred to as the ‘island of love’ and it appears that the name holds true.

2. Hungary - 6.9 per 1,000 people

In second place is the Central European nation of Hungary, with 6.9 marriages per 1,000 people.

Hungary has seen a big increase in the number of people getting married in the last couple of years. This could be partly due to the fact that the government has introduced strong financial incentives for people who get married and have children.

Hungary’s government has made it a priority to promote marriage and childbirth in an attempt to reverse the population decline in the country. Couples who marry before the bride’s 41st birthday get subsidised loans of up to 10 million forints (around £21,000). What’s more, a third of this loan will be wiped out if the couple have 2 children, or the entire loan if they have 3.

3. Turkey - 5.8 per 1,000 people

Turkey has the third highest marriage rate, with 5.8 per 1,000 people. This means that each of the top 3 nations with the most marriages fall in Europe. Turkey also encourages marriage among its citizens, with couples who marry early getting cash payments for doing so.

The highest ranking country outside of Europe is Israel in 6th place, with 5.3 marriages per 1,000. Israel ranks just ahead of the USA’s 5.1 marriages per 1,000.

Rank Country Marriages per 1,000 people
1
Cyprus
8.9
2
Hungary
6.9
3
Turkey
5.8
4
Latvia
5.6
5
Lithuania
5.5
6
Israel
5.3
7
United States
5.1
8
Iceland
5.0
9
Denmark
4.9
10
Estonia
4.6
11
Germany
4.5
12
Slovakia
4.4
12
Austria
4.4
14
Japan
4.3
15
Czech Republic
4.2
15
Romania
4.2
15
South Korea
4.2
18
Switzerland
4.1
19
Finland
4.0
20
Croatia
3.8
20
Poland
3.8
 

Where in the UK has the most marriages?

Top 3 places in the UK with the most marriages

The United Kingdom ranks 22nd out of 42 in terms of marriage rates globally, with 3.7 per 1,000 people. But where in the UK are most people choosing to tie the knot? On the whole, it seems like rural beauty spots are more popular with couples than cities, with the home of Gretna Green coming in first.

1. Dumfries and Galloway - 2,770 weddings per 100,000 people

When looking at where in the UK has the most weddings per person, 1 place stands out, which is Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.

There are over twice as many weddings per person here, than anywhere else in the country but there’s a reason for this. Dumfries and Galloway is home to Gretna Green, which is traditionally identified with couples eloping from England, due to historically stricter marriage laws. While those laws have long since changed, many still choose to tie the knot here.

2. Argyll and Bute - 1,165 weddings per 100,000 people

Another Scottish area comes in second, with Argyll and Bute hosting 1,165 weddings per 100,000 people each year. Located on the west coast of Scotland, Argyll and Bute is a unique area to get married. Here you can be wed on the beach, in a historic church or castle, or on the famous Mull of Kintyre.

3. Kensington and Chelsea - 1,077 weddings per 100,000 people

The most common wedding destination outside of Scotland is Kensington and Chelsea, in London. As the highest ranking city location, the borough is one of the most affluent areas in the country and has some of London’s fanciest venues. For example, the Chelsea Old Town Hall and venues along the famous King’s Road such as the sophisticated Beaufort House restaurant.

Rank Local authority Marriages Population Marriages per 100000 people
1
Dumfries and Galloway
4,108
148,290
2,770
2
Argyll and Bute
995
85,430
1,165
3
Kensington and Chelsea
1,689
156,864
1,077
4
Rutland
409
40,476
1,010
5
Westminster
2,681
269,848
994
6
South Ayrshire
793
112,140
707
7
Northumberland
2,186
323,820
675
8
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
3,763
575,525
654
9
Islington
1,601
248,115
645
10
Cheshire East
2,473
386,667
640
11
Highland
1,487
235,430
632
12
Perth and Kinross
959
151,910
631
13
Shropshire
2,046
325,415
629
14
Powys
797
133,030
599
15
Stirling
554
94,080
589
16
Scottish Borders
675
115,240
586
17
West Berkshire
873
158,465
551
18
Mid & East Antrim
764
139,443
548
19
York
1,154
211,012
547
20
Pembrokeshire
674
126,751
532
 

Where in the US has the most marriages?

Top 3 places in the US with the most marriages

1. Colorado - 1,797 per 100,000 people

In first place is Colorado, with 1,797 per 100,000 people. However, Colorado doesn’t have a particularly low divorce rate, instead sitting in 18th place for that metric. Colorado is a state known for its natural beauty, with the snowy peaks and flower fields making the perfect backdrop for the big day.

2. Wyoming - 1,793 per 100,000 people

Narrowly behind Colorado is its neighbouring state, Wyoming, with 1,793 marriages per 100,000 people. Wyoming had seen a decline in the number of marriages, but that trend has recently been reversed.

3. Washington - 1,687 per 100,000 people

Third place goes to Washington state, with 1,687 marriages per 100,000 people in the state. Located in the Pacific Northwest, Washington is known as the Evergreen State and is one of the wealthiest and most socially liberal states in the US.

Rank State Population Total marriages Marriages per 100000 people
1
Colorado
5,758,736
103,493
1,797
2
Wyoming
578,759
10,379
1,793
3
Washington
7,614,893
128,472
1,687
4
Maine
1,344,212
21,856
1,626
5
Oklahoma
3,956,971
64,166
1,622
6
Nebraska
1,934,408
31,065
1,606
7
Virginia
8,535,519
132,600
1,554
8
Alaska
731,545
11,277
1,542
9
Kentucky
4,467,673
67,204
1,504
10
Kansas
2,913,314
43,767
1,502
11
Missouri
6,137,428
91,812
1,496
12
Utah
3,205,958
47,678
1,487
13
Texas
28,995,881
428,294
1,477
14
South Dakota
884,659
13,035
1,473
15
Mississippi
2,976,149
42,982
1,444
16
Minnesota
5,639,632
81,109
1,438
17
Idaho
1,787,065
25,522
1,428
18
Arkansas
3,017,804
43,021
1,426
19
Nevada
3,080,156
43,757
1,421
20
Georgia
10,617,423
150,067
1,413
 

Which states have the lowest divorce rates?

In the United States, the divorce rate stands at 2.3 per 1,000 people, which is one of the highest globally.

But how do the rates of couples divorcing and getting wed vary across the various states that make up the nation?

Top 3 US states with the lowest divorce rates

1. Maine - 428 per 100,000 people

In first place is the state of Maine, with a divorce rate of 428 per 100,000 people. Divorces in Maine have been steadily decreasing over the last couple of decades.

One of the quirkier facts about the divorce rate in Maine is that a 2014 study*** found it to be almost identical to the rate of margarine consumption.

2. South Dakota - 459 per 100,000 people

South Dakota comes in second place with a divorce rate of just 459 per 100,000 people, narrowly ahead of New York, with 460.

Interestingly, over a century ago, before gaining statehood, South Dakota was actually known as the ‘Divorce Colony’.

In times when divorce was largely frowned upon, South Dakota’s lax divorce laws saw people flock to the state to end their marriages.

3. New York - 460 per 100,000 people

Narrowly behind South Dakota is New York state, with a divorce rate of 460 per 100,0000 people.

New York state also has a higher average income, age of marriage, and education levels than the rest of the country. These have all been offered as theories as to why the divorce rate in the city is so low****.

Rank State Population Total divorces Divorces per 100000 people
1
Maine
1,344,212
5,758
428.4
2
South Dakota
884,659
4,060
458.9
3
New York
19,453,561
89,397
459.5
4
Wisconsin
5,822,434
27,662
475.1
5
New Jersey
8,882,190
42,362
476.9
6
California
39,512,223
196,012
496.1
7
Hawaii
1,415,872
7,058
498.5
8
Nebraska
1,934,408
9,680
500.4
9
Illinois
12,671,821
63,681
502.5
10
South Carolina
5,148,714
25,946
503.9
11
Iowa
3,155,070
16,076
509.5
12
Massachusetts
6,892,503
35,610
516.6
13
Pennsylvania
12,801,989
67,618
528.2
14
Utah
3,205,958
17,619
549.6
15
Montana
1,068,778
5,879
550.1
16
New Hampshire
1,359,711
7,577
557.3
17
Colorado
5,758,736
32,520
564.7
18
Connecticut
3,565,287
20,272
568.6
19
Minnesota
5,639,632
32,226
571.4
20
Vermont
623,989
3,630
581.7

Louise Thomas, life insurance expert at Confused.com comments:

“Getting married can be an exciting time for couples as they begin their new chapter.

“But after the excitement of the wedding, and possibly honeymoon, it's important for newlyweds to remember the financial commitments they may now share. While it may be an unthinkable situation, we should remember that many financial commitments will become the responsibility of your partner if you're no longer around. And this is why it's important to understand the different life insurance options that are available to you.

“Having life insurance means that you have peace of mind over your finances and assets in order to protect your partner or family with things such as mortgage, credit card and funeral payments, ensuring things are taken care of if you are not around.”

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