The number of Italians marrying foreigners is on the rise in Italy

The Local Italy
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The number of Italians marrying foreigners is on the rise in Italy
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An increasing number of weddings in Italy are between an Italian and a foreign spouse, while civil ceremonies overtook church weddings for the first time in the Catholic country.


The number of weddings in Italy between Italians and foreign nationals is at a ten-year high, according to new figures from national statistics bureau Istat.

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An increasing number of non-Italian couples also choose to get married in the famously romantic country each year, the figures showed.

Of the more than 195,000 marriages, 33,933 - or 17.3 percent - involved at least one foreign spouse.

The total number of weddings involving "at least one foriegn spouse" peaked at almost 37,000 in 2008, before sharply dropping to 25,000. It has been steadily increasing since, and is now close to 34,000.

And marriage may be back in fashion in Italy, as the total number of weddings taking place in the country grew last year by 2.2 percent after slowly dropping for years.

The figures give a snapshot of Italian society in 2018, showing that the average age of those getting married keeps increasing, and that civil ceremonies have now (only just) overtaken church weddings as the most popular option in Italy

Last year, 50.1 percent of weddings were conducted in town halls, registry offices or other civil ceremony locations, while 49.9 percent took place in churches.

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Photo: AFP

This is a big increase since 2008, when the percentage of couples opting for a civil ceremony was 36.7. In 1970, the fgure was just 2.3 percent.

Civil unions are growing in ppularity everywhere in Italy, the statistics showed, except for in the more traditional south of the country, where the church remains the first choice.

In northern Italy, civil ceremonies now account for 63.9 percent of all weddings, while the south nearly 70 percent of weddings are still held in the church.

The statistics also showed that the number of weddings between non-Italians, or between an Italian and a foreign citizen, was higher in north and central regions than in the south.

The region with the most weddings with at least one non-Italian spouse was highest in Bolzano, which borders Austria, and lowest in the southern region of Puglia.

The findings showed the average age of those getting married in Italy is up: grooms are 33.7 years old on average while brides are 31.5 (respectively 1.6 and 2.1 years more than in 2008).

This is thought to be down to the fact that Italians are studying for longer, leaving home later, and cohabiting more than before.

The increased number of second marriages and civil unions in Italy reflects the introduction of the “short divorce" laws introduced in 2015, which made it easier to end marriages in the Catholic country.

In Italy, divorcees who want to remarry cannot do so in church.

There were 2,808 civil unions between same-sex couples in Italy in 2018, almost all of them recorded in larger cities, and a very small percentage of them taking place in the south. Italy began allowing same-sex civil unions in 2016.

READ ALSO: Same-sex marriages performed abroad won't be recognized in Italy


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