A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. The fact of getting divorced changes the structure of the population (change in civil status) and has an influence on fertility in Switzerland, as most births are to married couples. The number of divorces also has an impact on the likelihood of remarriage, i.e. the number of divorced people who could potentially remarry in the future.
|Total||16 542||16 885||16 210|
|Nationality before marriage|
|Swiss male and Swiss female||6 941||
|Swiss male and foreign female||2 825||
|Foreign male and Swiss female||2 906||
|Foreign male and foreign female||3 870||
|Length of marriage|
|0-4 years||1 973||
|5-9 years||4 003||
|10-14 years||3 154||
|15 years and more||7 412||
|Number of minor children of divorced couples||12 212||12 809||12 678|
The divorce rate is the ratio of divorces to the size of the population, observing the frequency and characteristics of divorces in this population. A cross-sectional study of the divorce rate provides a measure - a snapshot - of a given year (usually a calendar year), across all generations.
The cross-sectional indicators available are:
The crude divorce rate is the total number of divorces recorded during the year in relation to the average permanent resident population. This indicator is shown by the number of divorces per thousand inhabitants.
This rate was stable until the middle of the 1960s. It then increased until stabilising at two divorces per 1000 inhabitants from 2011.
This shows the proportion of marriages dissolved by divorce across all levels of marriage length, indicating the divorce rate for the year in question. The tendency to divorce has increased in recent decades. The short-term divorce rate indicator has risen considerably since 1970 (15%). Today an estimated two in five couples are set to divorce if current behaviour continues.
This indicator gives an idea of the average length of marriages that are dissolved by divorce during the calendar year.
Divorce is particularly prevalent in the first years of marriage. However a growing number of couples are divorcing after many years together, explaining the rise in this indicator.
The longitudinal study observes divorces in relation to marriage cohorts, all marriages celebrated in the same calendar year, and in relation to a certain period of time (usually the length of the marriage). The longitudinal indicator available is the proportion of divorces by marriage cohort and by length of marriage.
This is the proportion of divorces occurring within a marriage cohort after a certain period of time. A marriage cohort comprises all marriages celebrated in the same year. It is the total net divorce rates by length of marriage in relation to the marriage cohort.
One marriage in ten concluded in 1925 ended in divorce after 30 years, whereas this proportion rises to more than 30% for marriage cohorts from 1975 onwards.
The end of the 1960s was characterised by a change in attitudes towards divorce. The study of divorces by marriage cohort reveals how fragile marriage is in its early years. The proportion of divorces after five years of marriage is 12% for the marriage cohort of 1991.