Less marriage and more divorce in Switzerland in 2018

Just under 40,000 marriages were celebrated in Switzerland in 2018. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

While numbers marrying in Switzerland declined last year, cases of divorce continued to rise. Foreign couples were particularly prone to splits.

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Overall, some 16,200 divorces were registered in 2018, a slight increase of 2.1% on the previous year, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) announced Tuesday. The average staying power of a marriage ending in divorce was 15 years.

If such a trend continued, two-fifths of all marriages would be likely to one day end in separation, the FSO said.

The numbers vary across nationalities: while divorce between Swiss partners, or between one Swiss and one foreign, declined, divorces of non-Swiss pairs increased massively (+23.4%).

+ The specific difficulties of divorce for binational couples

Most cantons, also, confirmed the story of mounting divorces, though eight out of the 26 (including Vaud, Bern, and St Gallen) bucked the trend.

On the other side of the coin, instances of marriage continued to decline; 39,800 unions were celebrated, a downward trend of 2%. This trend occurred across all types of marriages except Swiss-Swiss unions. It was also seen in a decline of civil partnerships between same-sex couples.

As for the birth rate, the total number of babies also declined slightly, by 2.4% to 85,300. The average age of a mother giving birth for the first time continued to rise, and now stands at 30.9 years. An average of 1.47 children per woman is the norm.

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