Turkey's marriage and divorce rates decline, official numbers show

Marriages in Turkey dropped by 1.82%, while divorces declined by 5.79% in 2023 compared to 2022, recent figures by the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) indicated.

Duvar English

In 2023, there were a total of 565,435 marriages, while divorce cases numbered 171,881, according to data released by the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) on Feb. 22.

This indicates that compared to 2022, marriages dropped by 1.82%, while divorces declined by 5.79%.

The median age for initial marriage rose to 28.3 for men and 25.7 for women in 2023, with an average age gap of 2.6 years between spouses. Men were older in 70.7% of marriages.

Approximately 18,000 marriages were consanguineous, meaning relationships as second cousins or closer. This constituted 3.2% of all marriages recorded in 2023.

Around 33.4% of divorces occurred within the first five years of matrimony, while 21.7% happened between the sixth and tenth years.

Divorces resulted in 171,213 children being awarded custody, predominantly to mothers (74.9%) over fathers (25.1%)

On a provincial scale, Kilis, located in Turkey’s southeast, reported the highest crude marriage rate at 8.09 per thousand. Gümüşhane in the Black Sea region documented the lowest marriage rate at 4.52 per thousand.

Regarding divorce rates, İzmir in Turkey’s Aegean region registered the highest crude rate at 3.05 per thousand, while the eastern province of Hakkari reported the lowest at 0.36 per thousand, followed by southeastern province Şırnak at 0.44 per thousand and eastern province Muş at 0.55 per thousand.

Foreign marriages constituted 5.5% of the total, with brides from Uzbekistan comprising the largest group at 12%, tied by brides from Syria. For foreign grooms, Germans topped the list at 21.9%.

Summer was the most popular season for marriages, with July witnessing 73,447 and August 67,086. Meanwhile, winter months recorded the fewest unions, with 15,980 in February and 16,417 in January.

With declining marriage rates, weddings are getting increasingly more expensive in Turkey due to soaring inflation. The average cost of marriage surged 350 percent between 2022 and 2023, rising from 90,000 liras to 400,000 liras.

(English version by Wouter Massink)