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Census: Malaysia Divorces Double As Marriage Rates Drop

The sex ratio also increased from 106 males per 100 females in 2010 to 110 males per 100 females in 2020.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 – The number of divorced or separated couples in the country doubled between 2010 and 2020, according to Malaysia’s latest population census.

According to the Key Findings of the Population and Housing Census of Malaysia 2020 published on February 14, the percentage of married couples declined from 59.6 per cent in 2010 to 55.5 per cent in 2020, while the divorce and separation rate went up from 0.8 per cent to 1.6 per cent in the same period.

However, the number of individuals who have never been married dipped slightly from 35.1 per cent in 2010 to 34 per cent in 2020, or 8.4 million out of a population of 24.7 million aged 15 and above. 

Married individuals constitute the bulk of the population at 13.7 million, while widowed or widowers comprise 946,200. Divorced or separated individuals make up the rest at 393,400.

The country’s female and male population have increased in line with the annual population growth. Overall, Malaysia’s population increased 1.7 per cent to 32.4 million individuals in 2020. 

The female population rose from 13.4 million in 2010 to 15.5 million in 2020, while the male population went up from 14.1 million to 17 million. 

Subsequently, the sex ratio has also risen to 110 males per 100 females. In 2010, it was 106 males per 100 females.

As of 2020, there are 8.2 million households in Malaysia compared to 6.4 million in 2010. Single households account for 0.96 million households, or 12.0 per cent of total households. Most of the population is concentrated in urban areas at 75.1 per cent compared to 24.9 per cent in rural areas.

These findings drive home the need to examine existing social services and policies to determine if they are adequately addressing the changing needs of Malaysian households. 

A series of reports titled Families on the Edge by United Nations agencies Unicef and UNFPA explored the socioeconomic impact of the Covid-19 crisis on low-income households in Kuala Lumpur. 

According to the latest Families on the Edge survey undertaken December 2020, the median household income for female-headed households and disabled-headed households remained at 24 per cent and 36 per cent lower respectively than the pre-crisis level at the end of 2019.

Most of the households surveyed also did not have savings to help them cope with the financial impacts of Covid-19. While seven out of 10 households had no savings, disabled heads of households and female heads of households made up the most of this group at 83 per cent and 80 per cent respectively.

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