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People were less willing to marry in 2020
Updated divorce and marriage rates in Central Europe and the Balkans
May 6, 2021
3 min read
Brought to you by Jacob Nill
According to official figures from Southeast and Central European statistical agencies, the number of marriages in Central Europe and the Balkans dropped significantly in 2020. Social distancing measures and strict bans on public gatherings in many countries are among the reasons for such a decrease. At the same time, it is less clear why the number of people getting divorced in the region has also fallen markedly.
“The number of people who got married was 542,314 in 2019 and 487,270 in 2020, a 10.1 per cent decrease in the year before,” Turkey’s statistical agency, TurkStat, reported. According to TurkStat, the number of divorces also dropped markedly over a year – by 13.8 per cent. “The number was 156,587 in 2019 while it was 135,022 in 2020,” the agency said. A significant slowdown in marriages and divorces has also been seen in other countries in the region. 
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, people were less willing to marry in 2020. And the same was true for people in other Balkan countries in general. The updated rates for the whole year have not been published yet, but the Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina says that in the first six months of 2020, there were fewer marriages and divorces compared to the previous year.
“During the first six months of 2020, 5,290 marriages were concluded in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which compared to the first six months of 2019 shows a decrease of 29.94 per cent,” it said, commenting on the trend. “During the first six months of 2020, 892 couples were divorced, which is a decrease of 21.75 per cent compared to the same period in 2019,” the agency added.
In Eastern Europe, updated data from some countries in the region show a similar trend. According to the main Statistics Office in Poland, Polish couples have also shunned marriage in 2020. During the year, 145,000 marriages took place in Poland, 38 per cent less than in 2019. There were also 51,000 divorce rulings issued, which is 14,000 fewer than the previous year. 
According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, provisional data for 2020 shows that the health crisis significantly impacted people’s willingness to wed. From March to May 2020, there were 71.4 per cent fewer marriages than in the same period of 2019. Data for all 12 months show that the total number of marriages in 2020 fell by 22.9 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year, with 4,972 fewer marriages.
Another Balkan giant, Serbia, saw 33 per cent fewer marriages and about 30 per cent fewer divorces than the previous year based on available data through November 2020. Meanwhile, in Romania, the number of weddings also fell sharply in 2020. 14,929 couples got officially married in Romania in 2020, which is consequently 8,115 fewer than in 2019.
On the other hand, unlike in the rest of the region, divorces swelled in Romania in 2020 compared to previous years. The National Institute of Statistics, INS, reported one divorce for every 2.7 marriages. Back in 2017, the rate was one divorce per every 5.2 marriages. According to Romanian media, the increase in separations has led to an explosion of online searches for divorce lawyers and special online divorce paperwork preparation services.
Andriy Bogdanov, CEO and founder of one of the popular online services for preparing divorce documents in the US and Canada, Online Divorce, argues that the trend of increased interest in finding new forms of resolving legal divorce cases is common for all regions. However, such services and applications are ready for the new reality and constantly adapt to users’ needs. 
"We must be aware of the fluctuations in public sentiment in the world that relate to the scope of our activity. The service can be truly high-quality only if it fully meets the requirements of the time," added Bogdanov, commenting on the updates of European divorce rates. 
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