Early pandemic sees largest recorded drop in number of new marriages: StatCan data

Statistics Canada says the COVID-19 disruption may be behind the historic drop in the number of registered marriages early in the pandemic.

The 2020 vital statistics show the lowest annual number of marriages since 1938 and the largest annual drop since records began in 1921, the federal agency said.

There were 98,355 marriages registered in Canada in 2020, a one-third decrease from 2019, the report said.

StatCan noted that the drop coincided with widespread precautionary measures in mid-March, including lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings, travel bans and the closure of non-essential retail stores.

The declines were also steeper in Ontario and the eastern territories, where early COVID-19 precautions were generally more stringent than in the western territories. Declines ranged from 18 percent in Saskatchewan to 49 percent in Quebec.

More marriages are expected to take place in 2021 as many restrictions are eased, StatCan said.

It said in a report on Monday that preliminary data from several regions showed an uptick in marriages in 2021, but the figure was still lower than in the pre-pandemic period.

Divorces also fell by a record 25% in 2020, StatCan said, likely due to a slowdown in court proceedings related to the pandemic.

Canadian media

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