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In 2007, there was one separation in each four marriages

December 04, 2008 10h00 AM | Last Updated: October 15, 2019 03h43 PM

In 2007, although there were 916,006 marriages in Brazil, 2.9% more than in 2006 (889,828), the number of marriage dissolutions (divorces and separations together) reached...


In 2007, although there were 916,006 marriages1 in Brazil, 2.9% more than in 2006 (889,828), the number of marriage dissolutions (divorces and separations together) reached 232.134, that is, there was one dissolution in each four marriages. Exactly 30 years after becoming legal, divorce has reached its highest rate in the series released by IBGE since 1984. In this period the divorce rate has increased over 200%, changing from 0.46 in 1984, to 1.49in 2007.  In absolute figures, the number of divorces increased from 30,847, in 1984, to 179,342, in 2007. In 2006, the number of divorces granted reached 160,848. The increase of the number of divorces may be a consequence of the change of behavior in the Brazilian society, and also of the creation of Law 11,441, of January 04, 2007, which reduced the bureaucratic procedures for separations and consensual divorces, allowing the partners to effect the dissolution of marriage through titles in any conveyance office in the country. Civil Register Statistics, released by IBGE today, allow the calculation of the average age of men and women at the time of marriage. In 2007, it was possible to see that, for men, the average age in the first marriage was 29 years, and for women, 26 years.




In 2007, the divorces which are not preceded by judicial separation made up 70.9% of the total divorces registered in the country. The choice of this kind of marriage dissolutions formal has proven to be faster, since it reduces judicial procedures and the time needed for the solution of the cases.


Most of the separations which occurred in Brazil in 2007 were consensual (75.9%); non-consensual separations represented 24.1% of the total. However, in the period 1997 - 2007, there was decline of 5.9 percentage points in consensual judicial separations. On the other hand, non-consensual judicial separations increased from 16,411, in 1997, to 24,960 in 2007.


In 2007, dishonorable behavior or serious violation of marriage was the most common reason for non-consensual judicial separations, 10.5% of which were filed for by women, and 3.2% by men. The existence of a de facto separation was the basis for the action of 10.3% of all legal separations. The proportion of non-consensual separations filed for by women (17.5%) was significantly higher than those by men (6.6%).


Civil Register Statistics also highlight the hegemony of women in keeping the guard of minor children. In 2007, in 89.1% of the divorces the responsibility for the guard of minor children was granted to women. This high percentage of responsibility towards younger children is one of the factors which account for the big number of divorced men who remarry single women.


Average age of women and men at their first marriage was 26 and 29 years, respectively


In 2007, there were, in Brazil, 916,006 marriages2, which represent increase of 2.9% in the total marriages registered compared to the previous year. There was a trend to increase observed since 2003, as a consequence, to a great extent, of the growing number of couples wishing to formalize their consensual unions, encouraged d by the renewed civil code of 2002, and by the occurrence of collective marriages since then.


The data about marriages also allow the evaluation of the average age of men and women at the time of their official unions. In 2007, for the country as a whole, it was observed that, for men, the average age on the date of the first marriage was 29 years. Women, at the time of the wedding, were aged 26 years.


The analysis of marriage data by marital status of the partners evidences the predominance of marriages among single partners. However, in the last ten years, there has been a trend to constant decline of the proportion of marriages between single partners, which changed from 90.1% in 1997, to 83.9% in 2007. On the other hand, statistics show that there has been a trend to the increase of the proportion of marriages between divorced persons and single ones. The highest percentage concern divorced men who marry single women, compared to divorced women who have been officially married to single men. From 1997 to 2007, these percentages changed from 4.4% to 7.1%, in the former case, and from 1.9% to 3.7%, in the latter. There has been increase of the number of marriages between divorced partners, with increase from 1.1%, in 1997, to 2.5% in 2007.


Also in 2007, the highest legal nuptiality rate3 occurred among women aged 20-24 years (30.6 marriages for each one thousand women), and among men aged 25-29 years (31.9‰). Nuptiality rates among women were higher only in the two younger age groups (15 - 19 and 20 - 24 years of age). In the other ones, the rates observed for men were systematically higher.  


The nuptiality rates for individuals aged 60 years or over show significant difference by sex. Among women aged 60- 64 years, the rate was 1.5‰. For men in the same age group, the rate was 3.6‰.


Number of birth registrations increase in the North and Northeast


In absolute figures were registered, in 2007, 2,750,836 births all over the country. The distribution of birth registrations remained relatively stable until 2006 (2,799,128), with reduction of these figures in 2007. From 2006 to 2007, only the North Regions had increase of the volume of registrations, from 254,532 to 259,388. However, it is worth mentioning the increase of birth registrations in the Northeast, with change from 752,185, in 2000, to 829,756, in 2006, and slight decrease in 2007 (819,901). The trend to increase observed in these two areas can be seen as a consequence of the attempts at eliminating underreport.



The South and Southeast regions had significant decreases in the registers of infants born alive, according to the dynamics of decrease of fertility observed all over the country since the 1960’s especially in these regions. In the Central West the figures remain practically stable, with little oscillations in the period.


The list of birth underreport is defined by IBGE as the group of non-registered births in the year of occurrence or up to the end of the first quarter of the subsequent year4. The use of this concept is limited to the population born in the year and with estimated birth parameters, obtained through demographic methods. In the analysis of the series 2000-2007, the percentage of underreport in the country changed from 21.9%, in 2000, to 12.2%, in 2007, and in the last year there was practically no change, with slight reduction by 0.5 percentage points.


Also from 2000 to 2007, there was progressive decrease of the percentage of birth underreport, especially in the North Region, with change from 47.1% to 18.1%. Although the North Region had had the biggest reduction in the percentages of underreport, the coverage together with the Northeast is still insufficient. In 2007, the North and Northeast kept underreport figures of 18.1% and 21.9%, respectively. The South Region has the best coverage of birth reports, with only 1.4% of underreport in 2007. In the same year, the Southeast Region reached the proportion of 5.5% and the Central West, of 10.6%.


From 2000 to 2007, the main reductions of birth underreport, in percentage points, were those of Maranhão, Pará, Amazonas and Tocantins, respectively, 38.8%, 37.2%, 33.8% and 29.1%. In 2007, however, these states were still part of the group with underreport above 10%.


Births not registered in register offices within the period covered by the survey are included in the Civil Register Statistics of lsubsequent years, as late reports. The analysis of results of 2007 shows that 313,111 reports were late, corresponding to 10.5% of the total. Among these, 86.3% referred to children aged up to 12 years.




Maranhão and Paraná had the biggest proportion of birth reports of mothers aged 15-19 years


In 2007, the Federal District, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul were the only states in which the proportion of birth reports of mothers under 20 years of age was below the proportion of mothers aged 30-34. Paraná and Rio de Janeiro were also close to this profile. On the other hand, Maranhão and Pará had the biggest proportions of reports of mothers aged 15-19, about 25%. On the other hand, the biggest proportions of birth registers of mothers in the group aged 35-39 years occurred in Rio Grande do Sul (10.9%), São Paulo (9.5%), Federal District (9.4%), Santa Catarina (9.0%) and Rio de Janeiro (8.9%).





Relevance of early neonatal death increases


The data collected by Civil Register also provide other important elements for the analysis of infant mortality according to its composition: early neonatal death (of children aged 0-6 days), late neonatal death (of children aged 7-27 days) and post neonatal death (of children aged 28-364 days).  Opposite to what happens in Brazil, some countries of Latin America such as Cuba and Costa Rica, for example, succeeded in obtaining significant levels of reduction and coincidence of deaths in the neonatal period in the last few decades. Considering Brazil, post neonatal death prevailed until the end of the 1980’s and, from that year on, there was predominance of neonatal (both early and late) death, which reached, in 2007, 66.6% of the total death of children aged less than 1 year. It is worth mentioning that mortality related to early neonatal death has become more relevant (49.7%), and may turn into the main type of early death, causing Brazil to have a similar mortality profile as developed countries, in which this age group (0-6 days) concentrates over 90% of the mortality of children under 1 year of age.


Increase of violent deaths among women in the North Region



Some important information, collected by the Civil Register, refers to the description of the death according to its cause, either natural or violent. A violent death (related to homicides, suicides, car accidents, etc) has systematically increased in importance in the overall mortality structure since the 1980’s, mainly affecting male teenagers, youngsters and adults, although these rates have had a trend to decrease in the last 5 years. These reductions are observed mainly in the Southeast and Central West Regions, where the incidence of mortality by violent deaths reached very high levels in 2002, whereas the North and Northeast presented trend to increase.


All over the country, whereas the proportion of male deaths by violent caused increased from 14.2 % (1990) to 16.2% (2002), in 2007, this rate fell to 15.0%. Among women, these proportions remained practically stable, throughout the whole period, with figures slightly above 4%, but also on a downward trend, being the North Region the only exception. The Central West Region presented, throughout 17 years, the highest occurrences of male deaths related to specific causes: from 20%, on average, in the 1990’s to 18.0% in 2007. The North Region got the first position among the areas in terms of violent deaths in the male sex (18.8% in 2007), whereas in the Southeast there has been a trend to decline since 2002, reaching the proportion of 14.8% in 2007. The low proportions observed in the Northeast must be considered with care, a s a consequence of the problems with underreports of deaths in most of its states.


It is also important to mention that in the North Region, differently from the others, there has been a trend to increase of violent deaths among women, mainly after 2004, with change from a figure slightly above 5.3% to 6.5%, on average, in 2007. In this region, together with the Central West, women had the highest proportion of violent deaths, above 5%, although with trend to decrease.


In summary, it is worth mentioning, due to the differences found in the North and Central West Regions and the other ones, that different reasons related to violence affect these areas. In the Southeast, violence is probably more related to the severe process of urbanization and marginalization of significant segments of its population, especially the young segment (economic retrogression, unemployment, drugs, homicides, etc.). In other areas, besides these problems, there are yet unsolved matters concerning access to land by the population living in suburban areas and rural ones. Rural violence, many times resulting from invasion of areas, affects both men and women.





1 The marriage statistics which result from the Civil Register Survey result from legal acts and are obtained at Natural Persons Register Offices. Separation and divorce statistics gather judicial actions reported by Family Courts or Civil Courts and data generated by sentences and administrative registers attested by notaries all over the country. The analysis of these data shows some characteristics of the formalization of unions in the country. Consensual Unions are not covered by this study.


 2 The marriage statistics which result from the Civil Register Survey result from legal acts and are obtained at Natural Persons Register Offices. The analysis of these data shows some characteristics of the formalization of unions in the country. Consensual Unions are not covered by this study.


3 The legal nuptiality rate results from the division of the number of marriages by the number of inhabitants and the multiplication of the result obtained by 1 000. In this work were considered marriages among the population aged 15 years or over.



4 The percentages of underreport result from the division of the number of children born alive informed to IBGE by Register Offices, by the number of births estimated for a resident population living in a certain geographic area, in a given year.