Marriages and divorces increased in Turkey in 2021, a report by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) revealed Friday.
The figures show that the number of couples who got married in 2021 increased by 15.02% compared to the previous year and similarly, the number of couples who got divorced rose by 27.46%.
Last year, 561,710 couples got married. The crude marriage rate or the number of marriages per 1,000 people was on average 6.68. On the other hand, 174,085 couples got divorced.
According to statistics, more than 33% of divorces took place within the first five years of marriage, and 21% in the six or 10 years. The crude divorce rate was on average 2.07.
Divorces also dealt a blow to children. Last year alone, 165,937 children were placed into the custody of their mother or father after their parents divorced. Mothers got custody of the children in the majority of cases.
Statistics also show an increase in the mean age of those getting married in both men and women. Men usually marry at 28.1 years while women at 25.4. The age difference between couples stood at about 2.7 years, according to 2020 figures.
The highest marriage rate was recorded in the southern province of Kilis, where roughly 8.27 couples got married per 1,000 people. It was followed by Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman, in southeastern and eastern Turkey respectively. Gümüşhane in the Black Sea region, on the other hand, remained the province with the lowest marriage rate, ahead of Tunceli in the east and Bayburt in the northeast.
Most divorces were filed in the Aegean province of Izmir, which has long dominated the list of provinces with the highest divorce rate. Antalya came second and it was followed by Uşak. The lowest divorce rate was in the southeastern province of Şırnak and it was followed by its neighbor Hakkari, Siirt and Muş.
The increase in divorce rates is a trend that has continued in recent years. However, this year, there has been an increase in marriage rates.
Various factors have been identified to explain the shift, including a move from a consumption-based lifestyle and a change in social morals, along with amendments that have helped facilitate the divorce process. The government, meanwhile, seeks to promote marriages and children by offering incentives to newlywed couples and couples with children.
The TurkStat figures also delve into the number of foreign brides and grooms. Last year, 23,687 foreign brides married Turkish grooms while the number of foreign grooms was 4,976. Syrian women topped the number of foreign brides at 14.6%. Turkey hosts the largest Syrian refugee population in the world with more than 3.5 million people living in the country. This was followed by Azerbaijani brides at 10.1% and Uzbek brides at 9.8%, while most foreign grooms were German, Syrian and Austrian nationals.
The most significant drop in marriages was recorded in April and May, which are the months of full closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Marriages being held fell to 21,676 in May 2021, a drop which is also linked to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period when marriage ceremonies are largely shunned. In June, the marriage rate increased sharply to 75,137. Divorces in August stood at 3,779, while they increased to 21,955 in September. A judicial holiday in August also affected the number of divorces which decreased that month.