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New Jersey Health Statistics 1996

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE
1996

 

MARRIAGES

NUMBER OF MARRIAGES

The state has experienced a decline in both the number of marriages and in the marriage rate over the past decade. The number of marriages in New Jersey in 1996 totaled 51,811, a decline of 0.8 percent from the 52,208 marriages which occurred in the state in 1995 (Table MD1). The number of marriages in 1996 was the lowest number of marriages since 1977. The marriage rate in 1996 was 6.5 per 1,000 population. This represents a 1.5 percent decline from the 1995 rate of 6.6 per 1,000 population.

The number of marriages varied widely by county of occurrence. Essex County had the highest number of marriages in 1996 (5,497) and Salem County recorded the lowest number (359) (Table MD9). Six counties together recorded 51.6 percent of the marriages in 1996: Essex (5,497), Bergen (5,066), Middlesex (4,443), Hudson (4,122), Monmouth (4,024), and Passaic (3,561).

TABLE MD1. NUMBER OF MARRIAGES, MARRIAGE RATES AND
MEDIAN AGE AT MARRIAGE FOR BRIDES AND GROOMS
MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES ISSUED IN NEW JERSEY, 1987-1996

MARRIAGES MEDIAN AGE
YEAR NUMBER RATE* BRIDES GROOMS
1987 60,550 7.9 26.9 28.8
1988 61,063 7.9 27.2 29.0
1989 60,076 7.8 27.4 29.1
1990 58,747 7.6 27.7 29.3
1991 55,832 7.2 27.6 29.4
1992 55,321 7.1 27.9 29.8
1993 53,505 6.8 28.1 29.9
1994 52,797 6.7 28.4 30.2
1995 52,208 6.6 28.5 30.4
1996 51,811 6.5 28.8 30.7
*RATES ARE COMPUTED PER 1,000 POPULATION

AGE

The median age at which brides married in 1996 increased over the figure from the preceding year, continuing a trend that has been in effect for more than a decade (Table MD1). The median age at which grooms married also continued its gradually increasing trend. In 1996, the mid-point for brides' ages was 28.8 years and that for males who married in 1996 was 30.7 years.

The median age at first marriage is younger than the median age at marriage for both brides and grooms, but these median ages have also been increasing over the past few decades. With the exception of a temporary reversal of the trend in 1990, the median ages of brides and grooms have steadily increased over the decade. From 1995 to 1996, the median age for first-time brides increased from 26.7 to 27.0 years. First-time grooms experienced an increase in median age from 28.3 to 28.5 over the year (Figure MD1 and Table MD2).

Figure MD1


TABLE MD2. MEDIAN AGE AT FIRST MARRIAGE
NEW JERSEY, 1987-1996

MEDIAN AGE
YEAR BRIDES GROOMS
1987 24.9 27.0
1988 25.4 27.2
1989 25.7 27.4
1990 25.5 26.6
1991 26.0 27.6
1992 26.3 27.9
1993 26.4 28.0
1994 26.6 28.2
1995 26.7 28.3
1996 27.0 28.5

In 1996, fewer than one-third of women marrying for the first time were under 25 years of age (31.2%). This is in sharp contrast to the 50.0 percent of first-time brides in 1987 who were less than 25 years old (Table MD3). Only 19.7 percent of first-time grooms in 1996 were under 25 years, compared to 33.4 percent in 1987. The percentages of brides and grooms marrying for the first time under the age of 25 have decreased steadily over the past decade, while the percentages of both brides and grooms who were under the age of 20 at the time of first marriage in 1996 were about half the level of ten years earlier (Table MD3 and Figure MD2). The percentage of grooms under the age of 20 in particular is at a very low level; it appears to have stabilized at 1.5 percent.

TABLE MD3. PERCENT OF BRIDES AND GROOMS UNDER 25 AND
UNDER 20 YEARS OF AGE AT THE TIME OF FIRST MARRIAGE
NEW JERSEY, 1987-1996

BRIDES GROOMS

YEAR

PERCENT
UNDER 25
PERCENT
UNDER 20
PERCENT
UNDER 25
PERCENT
UNDER 20
1987 50.0 8.1 33.4 2.7
1988 47.5 7.0 30.8 2.4
1989 44.9 6.8 29.2 2.3
1990 46.3 6.9 29.7 2.5
1991 40.1 5.4 25.7 2.0
1992 37.9 4.9 23.6 1.7
1993 36.5 4.7 22.7 1.5
1994 34.4 4.5 22.0 1.5
1995 33.3 4.6 21.0 1.5
1996 31.2 4.5 19.7 1.5


Figure 2


Table MD4 is a distribution of brides' ages by grooms' ages for 1996 marriages, in detailed age categories.

TABLE MD4. MARRIAGES BY AGE OF BRIDE AND AGE OF GROOM
NEW JERSEY, 1996

AGE OF
BRIDE

TOTAL
AGE OF GROOM
NOT
STATED
<15

15-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

65+

UNDER 15 2 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15-19 1,757 0 0 338 951 310 120 31 4 3 0 0 0 0
20-24 10,530 0 0 167 4,131 4,547 1,204 343 87 35 9 3 3 1
25-29 16,862 0 2 45 1,497 9,005 4,365 1,361 384 133 40 20 7 3
30-34 9,486 0 0 14 293 1,891 3,765 2,164 845 313 126 51 17 7
35-39 5,688 0 0 7 112 503 1,273 1,743 1,127 550 235 86 36 16
40-44 3,223 0 0 1 26 156 365 642 865 588 322 161 56 41
45-49 2,066 1 0 0 9 45 127 206 353 537 419 202 88 79
50-54 1,064 0 0 0 1 9 32 39 106 153 282 209 125 108
55-59 505 0 0 0 2 2 8 13 19 45 76 113 105 122
60-64 262 0 0 0 0 1 3 5 4 10 19 32 67 121
65+ 366 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 1 4 4 16 18 319
TOTAL 51,811 1 2 573 7,022 16,471 11,264 6,548 3,795 2,371 1,532 893 522 817

Previous Marital Status

Nearly three-fourths of brides (74.3%) and a slightly lower proportion of grooms (73.2%) who married in 1996 were marrying for the first time (Table MD5). Almost one- fourth of both brides and grooms were divorced at the time of marriage in 1996 (23.5% and 24.5% of brides and grooms, respectively). The remaining brides and grooms were widowed at the time of this marriage (2.3% of brides and 2.4% of grooms). These relative percentages have changed very little over the past 10 years. Table MD6 presents the marital status of the bride at the time of marriage in 1996 distributed by similar data for grooms.

TABLE MD5. NUMBER OF MARRIAGES BY PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS
NEW JERSEY, 1987-1996


YEAR


NUMBER OF MARRIAGES
BRIDES GROOMS
PERCENT NEVER MARRIED PERCENT WIDOWED PERCENT DIVORCED PERCENT NEVER MARRIED

PERCENT WIDOWED

PERCENT DIVORCED

1987 60,550 74.6 2.6 22.8 72.9 2.6 24.5
1988 61,063 74.6 2.5 22.9 73.0 2.6 24.4
1989 60,076 74.9 4.9 20.2 73.6 5.0 21.3
1990 58,747 74.9 2.4 22.8 73.7 2.4 23.9
1991 55,832 75.3 2.5 22.3 74.2 2.6 23.2
1992 55,321 74.3 2.5 23.3 73.5 2.5 24.0
1993 53,505 74.0 2.4 23.6 73.2 2.4 24.4
1994 52,797 74.0 2.3 23.7 73.2 2.4 24.4
1995 52,208 74.3 2.4 23.3 73.4 2.3 24.3
1996 51,811 74.3 2.3 23.5 73.2 2.4 24.5


TABLE MD6. MARRIAGES BY PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS OF BRIDE AND GROOM
NEW JERSEY, 1996
PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS OF BRIDE

TOTAL

PREVIOUS MARITAL STATUS OF GROOM
NEVER MARRIED WIDOWED DIVORCED NOT STATED
NEVER MARRIED 38,472 32,313 255 5,904 0
WIDOWED 1,174 271 407 496 0
DIVORCED 12,162 5,316 575 6,271 0
NOT STATED 3 1 1 0 1
TOTAL 51,811 37,901 1,238 12,671 1

Race

Table MD7 presents 1996 marriages by race of bride and groom by the county of occurrence of the marriage. The data are provided by the racial categories contained on the certificate: white, black and other. Missing or not classifiable race is listed as "not stated".

County and Month

Marriages by month and county of occurrence are contained in Table MD8. In 1996, June was the month with the most marriages (6,338), followed by September (6,314), and October (6,062). These three months together (approximately 25 percent of the year) accounted for 36.1 percent of the total marriages during the year.

DIVORCES, ANNULMENTS AND SEPARATE MAINTENANCE ACTIONS

The figures identified as divorces in this report are reported by the New Jersey Superior Court and include divorces, annulments and separate maintenance actions. These data are presented, along with marriages, by county of occurrence in Table MD9. There were 25,048 divorces, annulments and separate maintenance actions in 1996, an increase of 755 over the 24,293 similar actions reported in 1995. The divorce rate per 1,000 population in 1996 was 3.1, the same as the 1995 rate.


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