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NEW JERSEY HEALTH STATISTICS, 2004

MARRIAGES, DIVORCES, AND DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS


SUMMARY
There were 49,841 marriages, 25,981 divorces, and 2,826 domestic partnerships registered in New Jersey in 2004. There were 5.7 marriages and 3.0 divorces per 1,000 population. There were 0.4 domestic partnerships per 1,000 adult population. Domestic partnership became effective on July 10, 2004.

OVERVIEW

The number of marriages in New Jersey declined 0.8% from 2003 to 2004, while the number of divorces decreased 5.2%. Between 1984 and 2004, the ratio of marriages to population fell 31% while that for divorce decreased 21% (Table MD1 and Figure MD1).

MARRIAGES

Age

The median ages of all brides and grooms, including first-time brides and grooms, have changed little over the past few years. The median ages of brides and grooms in 2004 were 29.8 and 32.2 years, respectively; a four year increase over 1984. The median ages of first-time brides and grooms in 2004 were 27.6 and 29.4 years, respectively; three years older than in 1984 (Table MD2 and Figure MD2). The proportion of first-time brides and grooms who were less than 25 years of age or who were less than 20 years of age has been stable recently. Between 1984 and 2004, however, the proportion of first-time brides and grooms under the age of 25 decreased over 50% and the proportion under 20 years of age decreased over 60% (Table MD3 and Figure MD3).

Brides were younger than grooms in 64% of marriages. In about one-quarter of marriages, brides were older than grooms. Age differences were more likely and, on average, were larger in marriages where one or both participants had been married before. For example, in nearly three-quarters of first marriages, the bride and groom were within five years of each other in age. This was true in fewer than half of marriages in which the bride or groom or both had been previously married. There was an age difference of ten or more years in 6% of first marriages compared to 23% of marriages in which one or both participants had been married before (Table MD6).

Previous marital status

The proportion of brides who were marrying for the first time rose slightly between 2003 and 2004 to 72.7%, while among grooms this proportion declined somewhat to 70.8%. Among both brides and grooms in 2004, about one quarter had a previous marriage which ended in divorce (Table MD4 and Figure MD4).

First time brides are likely to marry first time grooms. For example, more than 80% of first time brides married a groom who had not been previously married. Among divorced brides, nearly half married a divorced groom. Yet widows were more likely to marry divorced men than widowed men, reflecting gender differences in both age at marriage and life expectancy (Table MD7 and Figure MD5).

Month

October was the most popular month for marriages in 2004 (12.0%), followed by June (10.7%), August (10.6%), September (10.5%), July (10.5%), and May (10.3%). January remained the least popular month for marriages (4.2%) (Table MD8).

County

Marriage ratios are calculated based on the resident population of the area where the marriage occurred. Cape May County continued to have the highest marriage ratio in 2004 (11.7 per 1,000 population) while Bergen and Essex Counties had the most marriages (4,887 and 4,752, respectively) (Table MD9).

DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS

Background

Domestic partnership became effective on July 10, 2004 ( P.L.2003, c.246. and BVS). Couples wishing to register a domestic partnership must be same sex couples at least 18 years of age or opposite sex couples who are both 62 years of age or older. Couples must meet the following requirements:

  • Share a common residence in New Jersey or any other jurisdiction provided that at least one of the applicants is a member of a New Jersey State-administered retirement system;
  • Both persons are jointly responsible for each other’s common welfare as evidenced by joint financial arrangements or joint ownership of real or personal property;
  • Both persons agree to be jointly responsible for each other’s basic living expenses during the domestic partnership;
  • Neither applicant is in a marriage recognized by New Jersey law or is a member of another domestic partnership;
  • Neither person is related to the other by blood or affinity up to and including the fourth degree of consanguinity;
  • Neither applicant has terminated another domestic partnership within the last 180 days. (This prohibition shall not apply when the previous partnership ended due to the death of the other partner).

Overview

There were 1,665 female-female, 1,116 male-male, and 45 male-female partnerships registered in New Jersey in 2004 (Table MD14). One partnership was dissolved in 2004 (NJJ).

Age

The median ages of partners at time of registration were 45.6 years for female-female partners, 46.8 years for male-male partners, and 69.0 years for male-female partners. About 40% of same sex partners were in their 40s at the time of registration (Table MD10 and Figure MD6).

Previous marital status

Most men and women entering same-sex partnerships in 2004 were never married. However, 19% of women in same sex partnerships were divorced, while the same was true of 11% of men. Among opposite-sex couples, nearly half were previously divorced, 36% were widowed, and 17% had never been married (Table MD13 and Figure MD7). While both partners in 80% of male-male partnerships had never been married, the same was true of only two-thirds of female-female partnerships. In one-quarter of female-female partnerships, one partner was divorced and one had never been married. That was the case in 16% of male-male partnerships. In 6% of female-female and 2% of male-male partnerships, both persons were divorced. Both persons were divorced in 31% of male-female partnerships, one was divorced and one widowed in 24%, and both were widowed in 18% (Table MD14 and Figure MD8).

Registration date

More than half of domestic partnerships registered in 2004 occurred in July (Table MD15 and Figure MD9). On the first day partnerships became effective, 479 were registered. The following Monday, 199 were registered, 105 on Tuesday, and 151 the following Friday. Registrations tapered off substantially after the first week.

County

There were 43.2 domestic partnerships registered per 100,000 residents over the age of 18 years in New Jersey in 2004. The ratio was 48.8 for female-female partnerships and 35.6 for male-male partnerships. There were 3.4 male-female domestic partnerships per 100,000 residents aged 62 and over (Table MD16).

Among counties with enough registrations to calculate a reliable ratio, domestic partnership ratios ranged from 18.1 in Passaic County to 94.0 in Hunterdon County . Female-female partnership ratios ranged from 20.4 in Passaic to 100.0 in Hunterdon County . Male-male partnership ratios ranged from 15.5 in Passaic to 85.6 in Hunterdon County . Essex County registered the most female-female (216) and male-male (174) partnerships while Salem County registered the fewest (8 and 4, respectively). Monmouth County registered the most male-female partnerships (9) while four counties did not register any (Table MD16).

MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP DATA TABLES

MD1

Marriages and Divorces, 1984-2004

MD2

Median Age at Marriage, 1984-2004

MD3

First-Time Brides and Grooms by Age, 1984-2004

MD4

Marriages by Previous Marital Status, 1990-2004

MD5

Marriages by Age of Bride and Age of Groom

MD6

Marriages by Difference in Ages of Bride and Groom

MD7

Previous Marital Status of Bride and of Groom

MD8

Marriages by County and Month of Occurrence

MD9

Marriages and Divorces by County of Occurrence

MD10

Domestic Partnerships by Gender Pair and Age at Registration

MD11

Female-Female Domestic Partnerships by Age at Registration

MD12

Male-Male Domestic Partnerships by Age at Registration

MD13

Previous Marital Status of Persons in Domestic Partnerships by Gender Pair

MD14

Domestic Partnerships by Gender Pair and Previous Marital Status Combination

MD15

Domestic Partnerships by Month and County of Registration

MD16

Domestic Partnerships by Gender Pair and County of Registration

 

MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP GRAPHS 

MD1

Marriage and Divorce Ratios, 1984-2004

MD2

Median Age at First Marriage, 1984-2004

MD3

First-Time Brides and Grooms Under 25 and Under 20 Years of Age, 1984-2004

MD4

First-Time Brides and Grooms as a Percent of All Brides and Grooms, 1990-2004

MD5

Marriages by Previous Marital Status

MD6

Domestic Partnerships by Gender Pair and Age

MD7

Previous Marital Status of Persons in Domestic Partnerships by Gender Pair

MD8

Domestic Partnerships by Gender Pair and Previous Marital Status Combination

MD9

Domestic Partnerships by Month

 

View/download all marriage, divorce, and domestic partnership tables: Excel  PDF

Return to New Jersey Health Statistics, 2004 Index

Go to NJSHAD interactive query system to create your own tables and maps of marriages by selected characteristics for 1990-2004.

Go to 2003 Marriage and Divorce Report

Go to the Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registration for copies of marriage certificates

Go to the Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registration for copies of domestic partnership certificates

Go to Administrative Office of the Courts for additional divorce information

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Last Modified: Monday, 16-Jul-12 11:31:17