8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Divorce In South Africa


Statistics South Africa has released its latest data on marriage and divorce in South Africa, revealing that divorce rates are up – while marriages are down.

The report shows that divorce rates in South Africa in 2014 increased by 3.4% to 24,689, while marriages declined 4.9% to 150,852.

It’s commonly argued that a high divorce rate is a new trend of a lazier generation that refuse to “stick it out” and make a marriage work.

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Previous comments on divorce in South Africa from attorney Hugh Raichlin, however, indicate that marriage and divorce trends haven’t changed a great deal over the years.

A survey conducted by Pew Research in 2014 found that 40% of South Africans still take moral objection to divorce – versus a combined 31% of people who said it was fine, or not a question of morality at all.

According to Raichlin, the three biggest factors leading to divorce are a lack of communication, financial troubles and infidelity.

Here are eight facts on divorce from the latest available research conducted by StatsSA:

  • There were 24,689 divorces in 2014, up from the 23,885 recorded in 2013. Divorce rates have been climbing since 2011, but still off from the peak of 32,484 divorces in 2005.
  • Half of all divorces in 2014 were initiated by wives across all population groups, with 51.7% of the sway. White women were the main initiators (58%) while black women were the smallest starters (44%).
  • The average age of divorce is 37 for women and 42 for men.
  • As was the case in 2012, more than half of divorces happen in marriages that were solemnised through religious ceremonies. Of all divorces in 2014, 50.7% were religious marriages.
  • Since 2008, black couples have overtaken white couples in terms of divorce numbers – in 2014, 9,167 black couples got divorces versus the 6,970 white couples. Only 3.4% of divorcees were part of a mixed-race marriage.
  • About 17% of divorces happen between couples who are not economically active. The next largest group of divorcees are professionals or semi-professionals, followed by managers and administrators. Farmers had the lowest divorce rate.
  • Both men and women choose to get divorced after 5 to 9 years of marriage (27%). 19% of divorces happen after 10 to 14 years of marriage, and 18% between 0 and 4 years of marriage.
  • 55.4% of divorcees have children – with 22,218 children in total having to see their parents part ways in 2014.


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