Toyboys tying the knot & 'gray divorces': SA's marriage trends

05 July 2017 - 16:39 By Ernest Mabuza And Timeslive
A total of 138‚627 civil marriages were registered by the Department of Home Affairs in 2015.
A total of 138‚627 civil marriages were registered by the Department of Home Affairs in 2015.
Image: iStock

You're only as old as the man you feel‚ the saying goes. And South African women appear to be taking this to heart‚ because data shows many are marrying younger men.

Statistics South Africa has found a range of interesting trends in its latest review of marriages and divorces.

Overall‚ the report showed that a total of 138‚627 civil marriages were registered by the Department of Home Affairs in 2015. This is 8% fewer than the 150‚852 marriages recorded in 2014.

Despite the fact that men tend to marry younger women‚ data indicated that in 2015‚ 21‚607 bridegrooms were younger than their brides, while a further 10‚751 were of the same age as their brides.

However‚ most bridegrooms - 106‚264 - were older than their brides.

Age is but a number when it comes to putting a ring on love‚ the data shows.

South Africa had 1‚690 bridegrooms over the age of 70 who got married in 2015. A total of 568 women in the same age bracket also got married in the same year.

Six males and 77 brides below the age of 18 also tied the knot.

Minors require the consent of a parent‚ a guardian or a Commissioner of Welfare before entering into a marriage.

Overall‚ for first-time marriages‚ the median ages for bachelors and spinsters were 34 years and 30 years respectively in 2015‚ giving an age difference of four years.

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There were 25‚260 divorces which were granted by the department of justice in 2015.

Only 106 husbands and 19 wives who divorced in 2015 were involved in farming and related activities‚ it found‚ making it one of the best choices of career for people wanting to stay hitched.

Most male divorcees (3‚405) were managers and administrators while 2‚580 were professionals‚ semi-professionals and in technical occupations.

About 3‚121 female divorcees were largely in professional‚ semi-professional and in technical occupations while 3‚087 of the female divorcees were in clerical and sales occupations.

Many‚ though‚ did not disclose their actual professions.

Stats SA said 7‚698 husbands (30.5%) and 8‚543 wives (33.8%) did not specify the type of occupation they were engaged in at the time of divorce.

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The report said 4‚255 husbands (16.8%) and 6‚207 (24.6%) wives were not economically active at the time of divorce.

The so-called "gray divorce" amongst middle aged couples is also noted by Stats SA.

Men were in their 40s across all races.

For women‚ the peak age group for coloured and white population groups getting a divorce was 40 to 44 years while the peak for black African and Indian/Asian population groups was 35 to 39 years‚ Stats SA said.

The total number (25‚260) of divorces were slightly up from the previous year (571 cases or 2‚3%).

Over a longer period‚ the highest number of divorces were observed in 2005 (32‚484) and the lowest in 2011 (20‚980). - TimesLIVE