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    Number of marriages in Québec down by half in 2020 on account of the public health situation

    Québec, July 13, 2021 – An estimated 11,300 marriages were celebrated in Québec in 2020, a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. This number was down by half (‑49%) over 2019, a decline without precedent in Québec. The last time so few marriages were recorded was in 1903. These results were published in the Bulletin sociodémographique of the Institut de la statistique du Québec, which was released alongside provisional data for 2020 on marriages and nuptiality in Québec.

    Number of marriages, Québec, 1900–2020

    Number of marriages, Québec, 1900–2020

    Note: Provisional data for 2020.
    Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    The drop was steepest in May, June, and July of 2020, but data for the first months of 2021 show that the numbers remain below average.

    The decline in the number of marriages began in March 2020, and was particularly marked at the start of the summer, normally the busiest season for weddings. In May, June, and July, marriages were down by around 70% compared to the 2015–2019 average. The change was primarily attributable to the public health measures implemented to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The difference in relation to past years started to narrow in August, but initial monthly data for 2021 show that the number of marriages remains below average.

    Smaller decrease for marriages performed by a notary or involving spouses born outside the country

    The decrease in the overall number of marriages from 2019 to 2020 (‑49%) varied depending on the type of marriage and who was getting married. For example, the drop was greater for marriages performed by a designated officiant (‑69%) or a minister of religion (‑56%), but significantly less for those performed by a notary (‑14%) or clerk (‑39%).

    The decrease was also greater for couples where both partners were born in Canada (‑60%), but less marked for couples in which one partner (‑32%) or both partners (‑25%) were born abroad.

    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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