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Results

More than 1,580 people responded to the Relationships Australia online survey in April 2019.  Three‑quarters of survey respondents (77%) identified as female, with more females than males responding in every age group (see figure 1 below).  Just over eighty-five per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20‑59 years, and more than 55 per cent of respondents comprised women aged between 20‑49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that commonly access the Relationships Australia website, noting a slight increase in the proportion of mid-aged women respondents when compared to previous surveys.

There were significant differences between the views of male and female survey respondents when asked about the contemporary relevance of marriage.  Just under two-thirds of women (59%) compared with half of men (49%) reported that they considered marriage to be less relevant now than it was in the past.  Thirty‑five per cent of women and 45 per cent of men reported that they thought marriage still had contemporary relevance.

Consistent with the large proportion of survey respondents reporting that marriage has lost its contemporary relevance, a substantial majority of male and female survey respondents (75%) considered people were less committed to the idea of marriage than they were in the past.  More than 65% of women and 45% of men reported that they considered married people were not happier than people in other types of relationships.

In contrast, the majority of survey respondents reported there were positive benefits to being married when compared to being single.  Men (63%) were more likely than women (54%) to report that there were more benefits to being married than single, while 11 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women were unsure whether there were benefits attributable to marriage that exceeded the benefits of being single (figure 2).

A similar proportion of men (65%) reporting positive benefits of marriage, also reported that they considered children were better off when their parents were married.  In comparison, less than 40 per cent of women thought their children were better off when their parents were married, and a further 40 per cent considered children were not better off when their parents were married.

While men and women reported differing views on a number of survey questions relating to the contemporary relevance of marriage, a majority (55%) of both men and women agreed with the proposition that being married is more difficult than it was in the past, while around one-sixth (12%) were undecided.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites