(Jamaica Gleaner) Jamaicans are fast falling out of love with marriage, as weddings have plunged almost 23 per cent in the nine years up to 2018. That means that almost 10,000 fewer people are getting married here.

The massive drop in unions has been attributed by marriage counsellors to younger couples shying away from the holy covenant. They also link the rise in divorces to spouses getting hitched for the wrong reasons.

Data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) reveal that the number of new marriages fell to their lowest ebb in 2018, reflecting a steady decrease from 21,692 ceremonies in 2009 to 16,792 last year.

And all indications are that the number will rise as divorces climb, according to the STATIN data.

“Other demographic information of interest was for marriages and divorces. During 2018, there was a decline in marriages and an increase in divorces,” said Carol Coy, STATIN’s director general, releasing findings from several national surveys carried out in the past year.

“There were 16,719 marriages registered in 2018, a decline of 4.8 per cent compared to the 17,561 recorded in 2017. The divorce rate for 2018 was 20.4 divorces per 100 marriages, compared to the rate of 16.4 divorces per 100 marriages for 2017,” continued Coy.

According to STATIN, in 2017, there were 17,411 marriages in comparison to 3,166 divorces, while in 2016, there were 17,609 marriages, compared to 2,146 divorces. In 2015, there were 18,373 marriages to 1,734 divorces, according to the government agency.

Some couples listed lack of communication, persons failing to live up to financial responsibility, extramarital affairs, partners not being honest about their whereabouts, partners growing apart, and age differences as some of the major factors for marriage failures.

Other reasons include incompatible sexual preferences, as well as migration and a breakdown because of long distance. Other persons just walked out of their relationship without disclosing the reason.

In the meantime, counsellors have referred to the incidence of gender-based violence as one factor that has driven many young Jamaicans to shun lifelong commitment to one partner.

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