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19.6.2024 | Estonia

Unpacking Estonia’s marriage trends

Text Mark Taylor
Photo Luis Tosta / Unsplash

Unpacking Estonia’s marriage trends

 

As the wedding season blossoms, newly published data from Statistics Estonia sheds light on what the trends in Estonian marriages were in 2023. While the overall number of marriages has dipped, with 696 fewer couples tying the knot compared to 2022, the data reveals intriguing shifts in marital patterns.

Summer reigns supreme as the favourite time for Estonians to say “I do,” with a remarkable 41 per cent of all marriages taking place during the Summer months. The standout date of the year was Friday, July 7th, when 104 couples exchanged vows, making it the most popular day for weddings.

One notable trend was the increasing age at which people are getting married. The average age for first marriages remains consistent with recent years, at 33.7 years for men and 31.4 years for women. However, the proportion of younger newlyweds continues to decline. In 1993, a significant 60 per cent of newlyweds were under 30. Fast forward to 2023, and this figure has dropped dramatically, with only 24 per cent of men and 34.5 per cent of women under 30 getting married.

The data also reveals a shift in family dynamics. In 1993, only 16 per cent of couples had children at the time of marriage. Today, this figure has nearly doubled, with 30 per cent of couples entering marriage already having at least one child together. This change underscores a trend towards starting families before formalising the union.

Marriage in Estonia is becoming increasingly diverse. Estonian women were slightly more likely than men to marry partners of other ethnic nationalities, with 521 women and 461 men doing so. Furthermore, 70 per cent of all marriages involved at least one partner of Estonian ethnic nationality, while 11 per cent of marriages were registered abroad, often involving at least one Estonian citizen.

Interestingly, ethnic Estonians most frequently married within their ethnic group, with 3,401 such marriages. There were also significant numbers of marriages involving partners of Russian (1,949 couples) and Ukrainian (465 couples) nationalities.

Since January 1, 2024, Estonia has allowed same-sex couples to marry. Preliminary data shows that in the first five months of this new law, 93 same-sex marriages were registered, with a notable majority (64) being between women.

The report also highlights trends in divorces and remarriages. In 2023, there were 2,648 divorces, marking the fifth consecutive year that divorces remained below 3,000. Notably, one in three people who remarried had previously been married, and a significant number of these remarriages involved partners for whom it was also not their first marriage.

The average duration of marriages ending in divorce was nearly 12 years, though some had lasted much longer, with seven marriages of over 50 years ending in divorce. Additionally, 56 per cent of divorcing couples had minor children, emphasising the complex family dynamics at play.

 

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