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Marriages and civil unions in Italy - Statistics & Facts

Italy has one of the lowest marriage rates in the world. In Europe, it has the smallest number of marriages in relation to the population, with around three marriages per 1,000 inhabitants. The reasons why Italians choose to marry less are varied. The most common answer was quite fair: not having met the right person. However, it is not all about romanticism. Other reasons included the lack of belief in marriage itself and lack of finances. In fact, young Italians are known to leave the nest very late. High youth unemployment and high expenses might be some of the reasons why young Italians stay with their parents longer, do not marry, and do not reach financial independence as early as their European peers.

Dynamics of a marriage

Despite a general low marriage rate around the whole country, there are some regional differences. The Southern regions record the highest marriage rates in Italy, in particular in Campania, where there are four marriages for every 1,000 inhabitants. On the contrary, the regions of Lombardy and Marche, in Northern and Central Italy, respectively, have the lowest rates in the country. When it comes to weddings, Italian couples like to marry in summer. Indeed, most of the marriages are recorded between the months of May and September. Over the past few decades, grooms and brides have tended to get married later. Among the regions, there is a difference of about four years between the oldest and youngest couples. The regions in the North generally have the oldest grooms and brides, while in the Southern regions couples are tendentially younger.

The only West-European country without same-sex marriage

Italy is the only country in Western Europe that has only legalized civil unions for couples of the same sex and not same-sex marriage. Civil unions, which guarantee most of the same rights as for married couples, have been legally recognized in Italy since June 2016. Since then, thousands of civil unions have been celebrated in Italy. In particular, between June and December 2016 and in 2017. The regions with the highest number of civil unions are Lombardy, which is Italy's most populated region, Lazio, and Piedmont. Nonetheless, Italy has still a long way to go to become a LGBT friendly country.

One in two marriages ends in a divorce

In the Italian judicial system, the divorce bill was approved in 1970, despite strong opposition and an unsuccessful referendum to cancel this law in 1974. In Italy, 46.4 marriages out of every 100 ends in divorce. In Europe, Italy ranks 11th by divorce rate, with Luxembourg clearly leading the list of European countries with the highest divorce rate. In Luxembourg, there are 89 divorces for every 100 marriages. Italy's divorced population amounts to one million women and more than 760,000 men, showing an increase over the past years. The regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, and Lazio have the largest divorced population in the country.


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