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GreekReporter.comEuropeDivorce Rate Rises as Marriages Decline in Greece Over Past 50 Years

Divorce Rate Rises as Marriages Decline in Greece Over Past 50 Years

Greek divorce
A Greek Orthodox wedding on Naxos. Credit: Zde/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

The number of marriages in Greece has halved while divorces have quadrupled since 1964, according to a report by Eurostat released Thursday.

This follows an overall trend which unfortunately can be observed throughout Europe over the past 50 years.

Greece: steep decline in marriages, rise in divorce

Eurostat’s Marriage and Divorce Statistics Report uses data going all the back to 1964, which is the year statistics first became available.

It uses the “crude marriage/divorce rate,” which is calculated by finding the ratio between the number of marriages or divorces and the average population annually. The findings are subsequently expressed per 1,000 individuals.

Eurostat also noted that what may seem like an alarming rise in divorce across the continent may have something to do with the fact that many countries first legalized divorce during this period, including Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Malta.

The Eurostat report revealed Greece had an average of 4.4 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants in 2019, in comparison to 8.9 marriages in 1964. Just as disturbingly, divorces rose from just 0.4/1,000 in 1964 to 1.8/1,000 in 2017.

Divorce in Greece seems to be rising steadily, with the highest recorded number of divorces in 2017, the last year for which data was available.

Greece’s statistics are generally consistent with the overall average in the EU.

In the entire Union, the average statistics in 2019 were 4.3 marriages and 1.8 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. This is in stark contrast to the numbers from 1964, where there were 8/1,000 marriages and 0.8/1,000 divorces recorded.

Eurostat analysis

In 2019, the EU countries with the highest number of marriages were Greece’s close neighbor Cyprus (8.9 marriages per 1,000 persons), as well as Lithuania (7.0), Latvia and Hungary (both 6.7), and Romania (6.6). These were followed by Slovakia (5.4), Denmark and Malta (5.3).

Greece divorce marriage
Eurostat’s infographic showing the rates of marriage in 2019 across the entirety of the EU. Credit: Eurostat

However, there are some countries where marriage is declining in popularity very sharply. The lowest marriage rates were around 3 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants, which were reported in Italy (3.1), Portugal and Slovenia (both 3.2), followed by France, Spain, and Luxembourg (all 3.5).

Regarding divorce statistics, in 2019 the lowest number of divorces relative to the population was registered in Malta and Ireland (0.7 divorces per 1 000 persons), followed by Slovenia (1.2), Italy (1.4) and Croatia (1.5).

Greece divorce
The number of divorces across the continent, which has been rising sharply over the past 50 years. Credit: Eurostat

The very low rate of divorce in both Malta and Ireland can likely be explained by the devotion of the general population to the Catholic Church, which generally disapproves of divorce.

However, it seems that although Cypriots get married at high rates, they also divorce more frequently than their other European counterparts. The highest divorce rates were recorded in Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg (all 3.1 divorces per 1,000 persons), Cyprus (2.6) and Sweden (2.5).


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