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In love, engaged, married

Does the old tradition 'in love-engaged-married' still apply? What kind of relationships do people in Germany have today? 10 facts.

Martin Orth, 27.06.2021
Hand in hand: living arrangements are becoming more plural
Hand in hand: living arrangements are becoming more plural © Shutterstock
  1. In 2019, there were 17.5 million married couples and 3.3 million civil partnerships in Germany, making a total of around 20.8 million couples.
  2. The ratios between different living arrangements have changed compared to 2009. For example, the number of civil unions has increased by 575,000, or 21 percent; and in 2019 there were about 763,000 fewer married couples in Germany than ten years earlier.
  3. 416,324 weddings were celebrated in 2019. After German reunification, the number of marriages initially declined – from around 450,000 in 1991 to 369,000 in 2007. The trend since then has seen more couples heading for the registry office again.
  4. Most people choose a partner with the same level of education. In 2019, for example, nearly two-thirds of mixed-sex couples had a similar educational background.
  5. Same-sex couples in Germany have been able to marry since October 2017. By the end of 2019, more than 52,000 same-sex couples had married or had their civil partnership recognized as a marriage.
  6. 48,347 marriages were contracted between Germans and foreigners. When German men chose a foreign partner, she most often had Turkish (12%), Polish (9%) or Russian (6%) nationality. German women primarily chose Turks (17%), Italians (12%) or Austrians (7%) in 2019.
  7. People are getting married later and later. In the early 1970s, single men were about 25 years old on average and women about 23 when they got married; these days, men are 34.6 and women 32.1 years old at their first marriage.
  8. In 2019, a total of 149,010 marriages ended in divorce. The average length of marriages up to divorce was 14.8 years – three years and 4 months longer than in 1990.
  9. A marriage can end in divorce or annulment. Most often it ends with the death of one of the spouses: this was the reason for 71 percent of the marriages ending.
  10. By the way, most couples meet through mutual friends. Contacts via the internet or a dating app are only in second place, followed by meetings in a disco, a bar or at a party.


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