Picture: Itumeleng English

Lifestyle changes among South Africans had contributed to fewer marriages, particularly customary marriages, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Wednesday.

Between 2003 and 2010, the number of civil, as well as customary, marriages registered every year declined by 8 percent, said researcher Thuthukani Ndebele.

Using figures from Statistics SA, Ndebele said the decline in customary marriages was considerably more pronounced than that of civil marriages.

“Customary marriages dropped by 42 percent from 17 283 registered in 2003 to 9 996 in 2010. Civil marriages decreased by 4 percent from 178 689 to 170 826.”

He said the lifestyle choices among black people, such as getting married at a “later stage”, and cohabitation outside of marriage, now had less stigma attached to them.

He said the number of households was going up while the average household size was shrinking, which suggested that more people preferred to live on their own or with their unmarried partners.

He said children raised by married parents were statistically less likely to become teenage parents. – Sapa