South Africa's Divorce Rates Jump by 10.9% Within a Year As Marriage Registrations Decline

South Africa's Divorce Rates Jump by 10.9% Within a Year As Marriage Registrations Decline

  • Stats SA has recently released data revealing a significant 10.9% increase in divorces across South Africa over the past year
  • There has also been a worrying decrease in people getting married with the data showing that fewer people want to tie the knot
  • Marriage rates in South Africa have been dropping steadily for the past 10 years due to reasons like economic uncertainty, shifts in social expectations and changes in gender roles

Trisha Pillay is a Briefly News current affairs journalist in Johannesburg. For 13 years, she has devoted her professional life to covering social issues and community news, sharing her expertise with newsrooms like The Citizen newspaper, African News Network and Newzroom Afrika. Do you have a hard news story you would like to share? Email with CA in the subject line.

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Less South Africas are getting married.
While the South African divorce rate increases, many are opting not to get married. Images: DMP
Source: Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG - Stats SA recently published data indicating a 10.9% rise in divorces throughout South Africa in the past year.

SA marriage decline

According to eNCA, About 55.3% of the divorce cases involved children. As a result, when families separate, women and children are often left with serious financial challenges.

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Meanwhile, the increase in separations contrasts with a worrying drop in marriage registrations, as records have shown a significant downward spiral.

The Marriages and Divorces report for 2022 by Statistics South Africa reveals a substantial 29.5% decline in civil marriages documented between 2013 and 2022. In contrast to civil marriages, there have been slight upticks in customary marriages and civil unions registered.

According to Family Law South Africa:

"The consistent decline in marriage rates in South Africa over the past decade can be attributed to various factors, including economic instability, changing social norms, evolving gender roles, and delayed marriage. These factors have influenced the decisions of South African citizens and permanent residents regarding marriage, leading to a reduced emphasis on the institution as a critical life milestone. There has been a shift towards life partnerships instead of marriage."

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Mzansi divided

While some still believe in the institution of marriage, others are not shocked by the decline in people's desire to take part in an age-old tradition.

Here are some of the reactions:

@Jane Gibson Hawkins said:

"The reason divorce cases are increased now is because it's an easy enough process, marriages have both partners working, making them equal, and divorce is no longer frowned upon."

@Patricia Pecci Lovergal commented:

"That's good news. It's an improvement in a society with high GBV rate, it shows less desperation. No need to stay in unhappy marriage."

@Malooney Cobreti expressed:

"Its rough on the streets. Lately people are looking for help in the name of love and once they have been helped, they leave."

@Mampuru Morwamakoti Dimo shared:

"Some are take marriage as business; if you don't provide, you are likely to be divorced just an liability to such person."

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@Boss Charlie joked:

"Back to arranged marriages."

@Nkosikhona N-kay Jiyane Mnguni is stunned:

"May God help us as a generation... yooh."

@Mpho Apz Setwaba said:

"We marry people who want to prove to others that they can be married and not for love anymore."

Dad seeks help for kids during divorce

In a related story, Briefly News reported about a South African man who opened up about going through a divorce from his wife, whom he no longer lives with.

The man shared that the divorce has been especially difficult for his children, who are withdrawn and anxious.

An expert life coach, Penny Holburn, provided helpful advice on how the dad can support his kids during a difficult time.

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Source: Briefly News

Trisha Pillay avatar

Trisha Pillay (Weekend current affairs editor) Trisha Pillay is a Current Affairs writer at Briefly News. She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Johannesburg and an Honours degree in International Politics from UNISA. She joined ENCA straight out of varsity and completed an internship at the channel. Pillay later went on to cover politics, crime, entertainment, and current affairs at the Citizen Newspaper. She joined Newzroom Afrika in 2019 and became a senior bulletin editor for shows focused on politics and current affairs on the channel. She joined Briefly News in 2023. You can contact her at

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