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Thursday, November 20, 2003
The number of couples who got married in Canada declined sharply in 2001, while the nation's crude marriage rate sank to its lowest level ever.
A total of 146,618 couples tied the knot, down 6.8% from 157,395 in 2000.
The decline resumes the downward trend seen throughout the 1990s. The number of marriages rose in 1999 and 2000. However, the level reached in 2000, the highest in five years, may have been attributable to couples choosing to marry at the start of the new millennium.
The number of marriages in 2001 fell in all provinces and territories except the Northwest Territories (+2.9%) and Nunavut (+13.5%). Double-digit declines were experienced by Newfoundland and Labrador (-13.1%), New Brunswick (-12.2%), Quebec (-11.8%), Saskatchewan (-11.5%) and Nova Scotia (-11.1%).
The crude marriage rate fell to a record low of 4.7 marriages for every 1,000 people after holding steady at 5.1 for four years. Marriage data for 2001 indicate a return to a decreasing crude marriage rate.
Of the marriages performed in 2001, 76.4% were officiated by clergy and 23.6% by non-clergy, such as marriage commissioners, judges, justices of the peace or clerks of the court.
These percentages vary greatly by province and territory. In 10 provinces and territories, the majority of marriages were officiated by clergy. The proportion was particularly high in Ontario, where 98.5% of marriages in 2001 were performed by clergy. Only Yukon, Northwest Territories and British Columbia had more marriages officiated by non-clergy than clergy, with the highest proportion of non-clergy marriages in Yukon at 76.9%.
When it was a first marriage for both the bride and groom, the officiant was more likely to be a member of the clergy than was the case for re-marriages. First time marriages were officiated 81.6% of the time by clergy and 18.4% by non-clergy. Re-marriages were officiated 66.3% of the time by clergy and 33.6% of the time by non-clergy.
Canadians continue to marry later in life. On average, brides were 31.9 years old in 2001, up 2.6 years from 1991 and 5.7 years from 1981. The average age of grooms was 34.4 in 2001, an increase of 2.6 years from 1991 and 5.6 years from 1981.
First-time brides were the youngest group to marry in 2001, with an average age of 28.2. The average age of previously divorced brides was 41.4 and that of previously widowed brides, 56.4.
The average age of first-time grooms reached 30.2 in 2001. Previously divorced grooms were, on average, 45.0 years old, and previously widowed grooms had an average age of 62.9.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3232.
The shelf tables Marriages, 2001 (84F0212XPB, $22) are now available.
For general information or to order custom tabulations, contact Client Custom Services (613-951-1746; firstname.lastname@example.org). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Patricia Tully (613-951-1759; email@example.com) or Brent Day (613-951-4280; firstname.lastname@example.org), Health Statistics Division.