Pandemic accelerates Italy's falling marriage rate

By: AFP      Published: 10:04 PM, 18 Feb, 2021
Pandemic accelerates Italy's falling marriage rate

Marriages are becoming increasingly rare in Italy, all the more so during the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed Thursday.

In the first quarter of 2020 -- when the country was struck by the virus -- the number of Italians who tied the knot was down by around 20 per cent year-on-year, national statistics office Istat said. 

In the second quarter of last year, when a strict lockdown was in place for most of the time, marriages dropped by 80 per cent and separations and divorces by around 60 per cent.

Lockdown restrictions included a ban on wedding parties. 

But marriages were decreasing in Italy even before the country fell victim to the coronavirus. In 2019, Istat registered around 184,000 weddings, down six per cent from 2018 and around 25 per cent fewer than in 2008. 

On the contrary, divorces have become more common, mainly thanks to changes in legislation that sped up procedures, Istat said, noting they went up from around 54,300 in 2008 to more than 85,000 in 2019. 

Italy has long had the problem of a falling birth rate and an ageing population -- two long-term trends which reduce the ranks of people eligible for marriage