By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 October, 2013
The pro family, pro faith think tank was responding to the latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures which show that the number of people getting married fell again in 2011.
The figures show that Ireland’s marriage rate is now only 4.3 per 1,000 and that there were 19,855 marriages in 2011, down 3.6% on 2010.
According to the Iona Institute, Ireland’s marriage rate is now just below the EU average, and fewer couples in Ireland are getting married than in Britain and in the US.
In 1973, the marriage rate stood at 7.4 per 1,000 people per year and this has now dropped to 4.3 in 2011. The UK rate is 4.5 per 1,000, which is the lowest on record in that country and is far lower than the US rate of 6.8 per 1,000.
Commenting on the figures, David Quinn of the Iona Institute said the sharp decline in the marriage rate must be read in conjunction with the huge rise in cohabitation, the sixfold increase in divorce and separation since 1986 and the fact that over a third of children are now born outside of marriage.
“Irish people need to abandon the idea that the institution of marriage in this country is in good health. It isn’t. Marriage is in sharp decline by every measure. We need to have a national debate about whether this matters and what if anything we are going to do about it,” David Quinn said.
“We should care about what is happening, because marriage is especially beneficial from the point of view of children and is also associated with lower levels of poverty. People suffer when marriage goes into decline.”
The CSO report on marriages and civil partnerships also showed that 2,819 divorces were granted in 2011, a fall of 294 or 9% on 2010.
July was the most popular month for marriage and January the least popular, while Friday and Saturday were the most popular days with seven out of 10 marriages taking place on these days.
Civil ceremonies accounted for 29% of marriages, the same rate as in 2010.
In 2011, the average age for marriage once again increased, averaging 34.5 years for the groom and 32.5 for the bride.