Update: Millions of unmarried Germans living in sin; but married couples staying Married.
Update at the bottom -
The number of cohabitating Germans has risen significantly according to a study released by the National Statistical Office (Destatis) on Monday.
There are some 2.4 million unmarried couples living together, the Destatis office in Wiesbaden reported. The figure has risen a dramatic 34 percent since 1996.
These unmarried couples are predictably younger than Germans who are married, averaging 37.7-years-old for women and 40.3-years-old for men. Stodgy old married couples average 52.1-years-old for women and 54.9-years-old.
The majority of cohabitating couples are childless, though a substantial 28 percent were raising young children together. Four percent of unmarried couples had children who were already grown.
Whether they have children or not, both men and women who cohabitate work, but those with children tend to fall into traditional gender roles – men working full time, and women part time.
That being said, a study out yesterday (Aug 29,2008 )did show another interesting trend - for which I commend those people:
Divorce is down ever so slightly, reflecting a trend over the last few years. Couples also stay together longer before severing the knot.
Marriage in Germany is becoming somewhat more stabile. Last year the number of divorces dropped two percent from 2006, according to the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden. In 2007, 187,100 couples ended their marriages.
And even when couples did divorce, their marriages lasted longer than previously. The average marriage lasted nearly 14 years in 2007, longer than in 1990 when couples stayed together for just over 11 years, signaling a longer term trend.
The earlier trend of rising divorce rates seems to have halted. From 1992 to 2003 the number of break-ups a year had climbed steadily from 135,000 to 214,000. After Germany was reunified in 1990, the former East Germans experienced a very low number of divorces, but caught up with those in the West by 1997. Only in 2004 did the trend begin to reverse itself and the number of divorces declined.
As in many other countries, it is usually the wife who initiates divorce proceedings. Last year, 55 percent or 103,100 women filed for divorce, whereas only 36 percent of their husbands took the initiative. In the remaining cases, both partners filed for divorce together.
But even before the marriage formally ends, nearly 85 percent of all couples have already been living separately for at least one year. Only in two percent of all cases were couples still living together when they formally divorced.
Nearly half of all divorces involved minor children under the age of 18 still living at home. The number of children affected by divorce has also gone down by 2.5 percent from 148,600 in 2006 to 145,000 last year.