More than 23.8% of couples in the Western Cape file for divorce, tying the province with Gauteng as the regions with the highest divorce rates in South Africa. According to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), more than 25 390 completed divorce forms were filed in 2017, an increase of 0.3% from the number of those completed in 2016.
“There were more female, 12 938, than male, 8 878, plaintiffs. The median ages at divorce in 2017 were 44 years for men and 40 years for women,” the data collator’s annual marriage and divorce report reads. “The findings show that four in 10 divorces, 11 330 of the 25 390 in 2017, came from marriages that did not reach their 10th wedding anniversary. In 2017, there were 14 121 divorces with children aged under 18 years affected.”
The Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape have the highest total numbers of divorces granted, and contribute to more than 77% of the number of divorces in the country in 2017.
“For those who do make it down the aisle, the most popular time to get married is generally during the warmer months, beginning from September and peaking in December. The results also show that solemnisation of marriages shows a second peak in either March or April, depending on which month the Easter holiday falls for that particular year. Peaks also seem to be linked to the school calendar for long holidays, which allows many people to travel to participate in the marriage celebrations,” StatsSA said.
“Unfortunately, a high proportion of couples will have a “happily ever after” that lasts less than 10 years. Results showed that four in ten divorces (44,4%) of the 25 326 in 2016 were marriages that lasted for less than 10 years.”
According to the report, men tend to marry younger women. More than 76% of bridegrooms were older than their brides, compared to nearly 16% who were younger than their brides.
Only 8% were the same age as their brides. Men are also more likely to marry women who had never been married before. Nearly 94% of bachelors married women who had never been married before, and only 1% married divorcees.
The median ages at which men and women marry has increased since 2002. New data shows that the median age of bridegrooms increased from 34 years in 2012 to 36 years in 2016, and that of brides increased from 30 years to 32 years during the same period, suggesting that couples may be delaying marriage.
It may also feed into the more recent shifting marriage trends, as millennials (those born in the 1980s and 1990s) are either not marrying at all or marrying much later in life.