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World Marriage Data 2008, prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, provides a comparable and up-to-date set of data on the marital status of the population, as well as the number of marriages and divorces for all countries and areas of the world. The data contained in the CD-ROM complement and supplement previous data sets published by the Population Division/DESA, including the World Marriage Data 2006.  It presents a more detailed and comprehensive set of data than the previous revision.

The CD-ROM contains data on eight indicators:

  1. Women and men by marital status;
  2. Currently married women and men;
  3. Ever married women and men;
  4. Singulate mean age at marriage;
  5. Annual number of marriages;
  6. Crude marriage rate;
  7. Annual number of divorces;
  8. Crude divorce rate.

For each of these indicators, data are presented for the closest date available around five reference dates: the nearest year to 1970, 1985, 1995, and the two most recent available years after 1999, depending on data availability. Information on the data coverage for each indicator is provided in the corresponding metadata files.

Most of the data presented in World Marriage Data 2008 are obtained from official statistical sources so no large discrepancies are expected between the data presented and those reported by National Statistical Offices.  No attempt has been made to provide estimates when country data are not available.  

The CD-ROM includes three Excel files, prepared in Excel 2003 and compatible with all previous versions of Excel starting with Excel 5.0/95. The file named Marital status presents data on the percentage of the population that is currently married and ever married by sex and age group as well as associated indicators.  The file named Marriages provides information on the annual number of marriages and the crude marriage rate, while the file named Divorces contains information on the annual number of divorces and the crude divorce rate.

In addition to those three Excel files, the CD-ROM includes three other useful resources: (1) Metadata files containing the definitions, methods of computation, a description of the statistical system generating the data used and a description of the secondary sources from which the data or estimates presented were obtained for each of the indicators presented in the data files; (2) a short note on Documentation (presented in this window),  and (3) the United Nations Software Licence Agreement containing the product licensing agreement.

The CD-ROM launches a navigation interface upon insertion and provides direct access to those files.



  Suggested citation:
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2009). World Marriage Data 2008 (POP/DB/Marr/Rev2008).