The number of couples celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary reached a record high in 2010. This is related to the peak in marriages around 1970. Increased life expectancy also means that couples stay together longer.
One-off top year for 40th wedding anniversaries
In 2010 some 73 thousand couples will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. This record will not be broken in the years to come. The number of 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th wedding anniversaries has increased substantially in the last ten years. On the other hand, there are fewer 12.5 and 25th wedding anniversaries. In total the Netherlands has about 770 thousand couples who have been married for over 40 years. Their number has increased by 40 percent. About 230 thousand couples have been married for over 50 years and about 25 thousand over 60 years.
Wedding anniversaries, 2000 and 2010
Erratic course in marriages
The number of wedding anniversaries is of course closely related to the number of weddings in the past. There was a record high in 1970, when almost 124 thousand couples got married. This explains the current record in 40th wedding anniversaries. In 1985 the number of weddings was substantially lower, explaining the decrease in the number of silver weddings.
Number of weddings
Longer lives, staying together longer
The increased life expectancy is also a contributing factor in the increase in long marriages. This mainly applies to the increased life expectancy of men, who tend to be slightly older than their partners and die somewhat earlier. After 1975 the life expectancy of men developed rather positively. At 50 their life expectancy is only four years less than that of women, but the gap between the sexes has been closing fast in recent years.
Life expectancy at age 50
Joop Garssen and Suzanne Loozen