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Marriage Italian-style (or, welcome to the modern world) PDF Print E-mail
Jul 23, 2010 at 02:10 PM
ImageRemember all the talk about the stability of the Italian family? Well, ha ha ha. The latest statistics about divorce in Italy indicate that they ain't all that different than we are. And if I sound a bit sarcastic, it is only because when you've lived in Italy for as long as I have, at some point you get sick and tired of hearing a lot of nonsense about OUR country; families don't count for anything, we are all racists, you can't get a decent meal etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, here's the story. According to data released a couple of days ago by ISTAT, the Italian national statistics agency, in the last 13 years (no, I don't know why they chose 13 years as a reference point but there it is) have doubled and, what's more in 2008 the number of divorces rose by 3.4% and the number of legal separations by 7.3%. In 2008, there were 84.165 separations and 54.351 divorces. Put another way, that amounts to 179 divorces for every 1000 people and 286 legal separations although, as to be expected, the rate is twice as high in the Italian north than it is in the Mezzogiorno. Who knows what was going on in 2005 because in that year, the statistics tell us, there was a peak of

But that's not all. The data tell us that nowadays in Italy the length of the average marriage is 15 years, 18 years if you measure up to the time that a final divorce is granted. The average age fro those getting separated is at present 45 for men and 41 for women.

Curiously enough, fewer Italian marriages are breaking up before the five-year mark whereas longer ones are increasingly in trouble. In 1995, 24% of marriages ended before five years; today that has declined to 17% - still a hefty chunk). On the other hand, the number of marriages that end after ten years has doubled since 1995 and those lasting 25 years have tripled (there are no statistics on this, but how much do you want to bet that in the latter group it is mostly men seeking younger women?)

In most cases, the report adds, respectively 86.3% and 77.3%, the separations and divorces are consensual (or appear so). And in 78.8% of the dissolved marriages involving underage children the final solution involves joint custody. I would add that the statistics obviously do not take into account the huge number of couples who now live together without getting married at all although I suspect most of them (but by no means all) tie the knot after the bambini arrive.



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