Tuesday 10/26/21

Finnish women enter their second marriage at age 44, men at 47

21% of all marriages contracted in 2018 were second marriages and slightly under 4% were third marriages. The average age for women at the time of divorce was 40.8 years and for men was 43.0 years.

Couple-love
Photo: Susan Vanderwier.

Are you divorced in Finland and are you planning to get married again? Is your partner also in the second round? 

If the answer to both questions is yes, you should know that if you are a man you will probably marry a slightly older woman, since the average age of women who reach the second marriage increased one tenth from 2017, to 44.7 years. If you are a woman, nothing has changed, the corresponding average age for men remained unchanged at 47.5 years.

That is what the latest figures on population changes published by Statistics Finland show. The numbers published today review the landscape of marital contracts and ruptures, and show that both marriages and divorces are in decline. Both men and women divorce a little later than in previous years.

In 2018, a total of 23,799 marriages were contracted in Finland. The corresponding number in 2017 was 26,542, so the number of marriages contracted decreased by 2,743 (or 10.3%) in one year. Of those marriages registered, 23,412 were made between opposite-sex couples, which was 2,576 fewer than in the year before.

Same-sex partners entered into 387 marriages, while in the previous year the number was 554 in just ten months. An amendment to the Marriage Act entered into force on 1 March 2017, to allow marriages between couples of the same sex.

Average ages of marriage

Last year, the average age of women and men entering into their first marriage remained unchanged for opposite-sex couples. The average age for women was 31.7 years and that of men was 33.9 years. The average age of women entering their second marriage was 44.7 years and rose by one tenth from 2017. The corresponding average age for men remained unchanged at 47.5 years.

With regard to same-sex couples, the average age in marriages between two women decreased to 35.4 years. One year earlier it was 36.1. Correspondingly, the average age in marriages between two men increased to 44.3 years, having been 41.3 in 2017.

In 2018, the number of remarriages decreased more in relative terms than the number of first marriages. Even so, the share of first marriages in all marriages entered into is still around three-quarters. Thus, 21% of all marriages contracted were second marriages, and slightly under 4% were third marriages.

Marriages-Finland-statisticsSource: Statistics Finland.

Number of divorces declining

In 2018, in total 13,145 marriages ended in divorce. Apart from 29, all were divorces where the spouses were of opposite sexes.

The number of divorces between spouses of opposite sexes decreased by 340 from the previous year. The annual number of divorces has fluctuated without a clear direction. However, 2018 was the third successive year when the number decreased.

The annual changes in the numbers have, however, been so small that the divorce rate, this is the number of divorces in relation to married persons, has remained at the same level for over 20 years: 13 to 14 divorces per one thousand married women or men, explains Statistics Finland.

In first marriages between opposite-sex spouses, the average age for women at the time of divorce was 40.8 years. The corresponding average age of men was 43.0 in 2018. The average age of women at the time of divorce rose from the year before by two-tenths, that of men by one-tenth. A slight upward trend has been visible in the average age at the time of divorce for both sexes in recent years.

Fewer marriages between same-sex couples

In 2018, same-sex partners entered into 387 marriages of which 145 were between two men and 242 between two women. The number decreased clearly from 2017 when 554 marriages were contracted.

As a result of the amendment to the Marriage Act, starting from 1 March 2017, same-sex partners can enter into marriage in Finland and partnerships are no longer registered. After the amendment, more marriages were contracted in 10 months than what had been the highest number of registered partnerships in one year, 446 in 2002.

The effect of the amendment to the Marriage Act entering into force on the number of marriages in the effective year seems to be similar as that of the Act of Registered Partnerships, 1 March 2002. In both cases, the number of marriages or registered partnerships entered into decrease clearly in the year following the year in which the Act entered into force: marriages by 30 per cent and registered partnerships by 57 per cent.

The number of registered same-sex partnerships ending in divorce has been around 130 in three previous years. In 2018, there were clearly fewer such divorces, 103. When the divorces of same-sex married couples, 29 are added to this figure, the total amount 132 is at the same level as same-sex partnerships ending in divorce in previous years.

Thirty-two of same-sex partnerships that ended in divorce were between men and 71 between women. Correspondingly, six of same-sex marriages ending in divorce were between men and 23 between women.

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