Number of marriages goes up, divorces drop

Azlan Othman

There was an increase in the number of marriages and a drop in the divorce rate for 2018, compared to the previous year.

Statistics from the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS) of the Ministry of Finance and Economy stated that the total number of marriages in 2018 was 2,653 compared to 2,540 in 2017, which showed an increase of 4.4 per cent. This included all types of marriages such as Muslim, civil, and customary.

The Brunei-Muara District witnessed the highest number of couples tying the knot with 1,884 marriages, followed by Belait (317), Tutong (281) and Temburong (57).

Another 114 marriages were recorded outside Brunei Darussalam, which was up by only single marriages, compared to 2017.

Single couples constituted the highest number with 2,251 entering matrimony, followed by divorcees with 317 and widows with 57.

Those who carried out polygamy were down by nine with 26 marriages recorded in 2018, compared to 35 in 2017.

Tying the knot at ages 25-29 constituted the highest number for men with 1,040 entering matrimony, followed by those aged 20-24 (541) and 30-34 (511).

Women were inclined to enter matrimony at ages 25-29 (1,032), followed by those aged 20-24 (737) and 30-34 (369).

The crude marriage rate slightly increased from 5.9 marriages in 2017 to 6.0 marriages in 2018, per 1,000 population.

The median age at the first marriage has always been higher for males than for females. In 2018, the median age at the first marriage for males was 27.1 years, more than one year later than that for females at 25.8 years.

Meanwhile, the total number of divorces in 2018 was 552, compared to 632 in 2017, which showed a decrease of 12.7 per cent. The median age of divorce for males was 37.1 years in 2018 compared to 35.1 years for females.

Marriage durations of five-nine years and 10-19 years constituted the highest number of divorces, where both showed 173 cases, followed by those who married between one to four years, with 119 cases. Traditionally, the months of January and March are very popular times for tying the knot, with 282 marriages for each month, followed by August with 246. By comparison, March and August were most popular in 2017.

Every Muslim marriage and divorce occurring in Brunei Darussalam must be registered under the Islamic Family Law, (Chapter 217). Meanwhile, all civil, customary and other marriages and divorces must be registered under the Registration of Marriages Act (Chapter 124).