BERLIN, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The number of registered divorces in Germany increased by 0.6 percent year-on-year to 149,000 in 2019, "the first slight increase in divorces since 2012," the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis) announced on Wednesday.
A large majority of marriages, or more than 80 percent, was divorced after a separation period of one year, according to Destatis. The average divorced couple had been married for 14 years and 10 months.
In 2020, the number of divorces in Germany is likely to increase further because of the spread of COVID-19. Between March and May, the number of couples who decided to divorce was five times higher than during normal times, according to a recent survey by opinion research institute Civey.
Reasons for the spike in divorces were the "lack of space" and individual freedom when spending weeks at home while other couples that had already lived separately saw the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to legally end the marriage, according to Civey.
This week, Destatis also announced that new marriages in 2019 decreased by 7.4 percent to 416,300 after a historic high in 2018 when a new law that allowed same-sex marriages in Germany saw around 14,000 German couples receive the legal marriage status.
At the same time, the "long-term trend" of more deaths than births in Germany had continued in 2019. By 2060, Destatis is expecting Germany's population to shrink from currently more than 83 million to less than 75 million.
In addition, Germany's parents are getting older. Last year, Destatis said that the number of German women who became mothers at the age of 40 years or above had almost tripled within the last three decades.
The trend towards later maternity among German women has many reasons. As the number of working women goes up, many are postponing the decision to have children. Also, medical progress over the centuries has made late maternity possible. Enditem