What the German Divorce Statistics
01. November 2018
This year, German media outlets headlined that 2017 was the year with the lowest amount of divorces in 25 years. Sounds good, right?
*The mean ("Mittelwert") refers to the annual numbers of divorces since 1955.
And it's true: The amount of divorces has decreased since 2013 and was on the lowest level in 25 years last year. But if you take a look at the long-term trend and compare it to the number of marriages, it doesn't seem that positive anymore …
Actually, the drop of marriages over the past decades is way more significant than the development of divorces. If you take dissolutions of marriages caused by the death of a spouse and nullifications into account as well, the data shows quite a disenchanting picture: The number of (at least officially) intact marriages has continuously decreased since 1972.
In other words: There may have been less divorces compared to past decades in 2017, but there are also less marriages that can be divorced nowadays.
Of course, this doesn't necessarily say anything about the quality of relationships and family life in Germany. But a "comeback" of marriage isn't happening either.
Nevertheless, there's also a positive trend that can be drawn from the statistics: The average lifespan of a marriage has increased compared to the last 27 years. Marriages that were divorced in 2017 had endured 3.5 years longer than marriages divorced in 1990.