EU in 2022: Fewer marriages, fewer divorces

About 1.9 million marriages and an estimated 0.6 million divorces took place in the European Union in 2022, according to the most recent data available for the EU member states, EU statistics agency Eurostat said.

These figures may be expressed as 4.2 marriages for every 1000 persons (in other words the crude marriage rate) and 1.6 divorces for every 1 000 persons (in other words the crude divorce rate).

Since 1964 (the first year for which data are available), the crude marriage rate in the EU has declined by almost 50  per cent in relative terms (from 8.0 per 1 000 persons in 1964 to 4.2 in 2022), Eurostat said.

The downward trend is interrupted by some intermediate peaks in 1989 (6.4), 2000 (5.2), 2007 (5.0) and 2018 (4.5).

“The substantial decrease observed between 2019 (4.3 per 1 000 persons) and 2020 (3.2) in the crude marriage rate could be interpreted as an effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, representing a fall of almost 25 per cent,” Eurostat said.

Since then, and from 2021 onwards, a significant increase can be observed in the crude marriage rate reaching 4.2 in 2022.

Over the same extended period, the crude divorce rate has essentially doubled, increasing from 0.8 per 1 000 persons in 1964 to 1.6 in 2022.

The divorce rate peaked in 2006 (2.1) and has been declining slightly since then. 7

Part of this increase may be due to the fact that in several EU member states divorce was legalised during this period (for example, in Italy, Spain, Ireland and Malta).

“The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have impacted the divorce rate as well, as can be seen by the slight drop taking place between 2019 and 2020,” Eurostat said.

Nevertheless, the decrease in the crude divorce rate was far less pronounced (about 10  per cent) than the one observed for the crude marriage rate. Since then that value has remained almost unchanged.

in 2022, the highest crude marriage rates were in Hungary (6.6 marriages per 1000 persons), Latvia (6.3) and Romania (6.2).

The lowest crude marriage rates were reported in Slovenia, Italy (both 3.2 marriages per 1 000 persons) and Portugal (3.5).

In Bulgaria, the crude marriage rate was 4.2 in 2019, dropping to 3.2 in 2020, and was 3.9 in both 2021 and 2022.

“Individual country figures reveal that in some EU Member States the lockdowns imposed by the emergency situation in 2020 caused marriage rates to drop by more than 50  per cent, e.g. in Ireland (4.1 in 2019 versus 1.9 in 2020) and Malta (5.3 in 2019 versus 2.2 in 2020),” Eurostat said.

By contrast, the only country where the crude marriage rate increased during the first year of the pandemic was Hungary (6.7 in 2019 versus 6.9 in 2020).

Since then, the trend seems to be going back to the pre-pandemic situation in most EU member states, in particular when comparing the situation in 2019 to the one in 2022.

Among those EU countries where data are available eight EU countries (Belgium, Estonia, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal) recorded higher crude marriage rates in 2022 than in 2019, Eurostat said.

(Photo: bea29sm/

Please help keep The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism alive by clicking on the button below and signing up to become a supporter on Becoming a patron of The Sofia Globe costs as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies.

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.