Monday, June 09, 2014

Divorce rates in Azerbaijan

In the Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System, Revision 2 (by the United Nations), divorce is defined as “a final legal dissolution of a marriage, that is, that separation of husband and wife which confers on the parties the right to remarriage under civil, religious and/or other provisions, according to the laws of each country.” This blog post examines divorce in Azerbaijan over the years, by age group, gender and by duration of marriage. The post also explores perceptions of happiness among divorced Azerbaijanis and those who are not divorced.

Attitudes towards divorce in Azerbaijan are predominantly negative. According to the Caucasus Barometer 2013 (CB), almost half of Azerbaijanis feel that divorce can never be justified (48%).

When compared to many other countries in the world, the divorce rate in Azerbaijan is relatively low. According to the United Nations' Demographic Yearbook, the highest number of divorces in the world can be observed in Russia (4.7 per 1,000 people in 2011), Belarus (4.1 in 2012), Latvia (3.6 in 2012), Lithuania (3.3 in 2012), Moldova (3.0 in 2012), Denmark (2.8 in 2012), and the United States (2.8 in 2011). In comparison, that rate in Azerbiajan is 1.2 per 1,000 people (in 2012).

Data provided by the State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan (AzStat) shows that the number of divorces has decreased in Azerbaijan overall from 1990 to 2008, followed by a gradual increase from 2008.

Statistics provided by AzStat show that the first five years are the most difficult period for a marriage. This is the time during which the highest number of divorces occur in Azerbaijan. The longer the marriage, the lower the chance of divorce. Moreover, according to AzStat, the peak age for divorce among females is 25-29 years old, whereas it is 30-34 years old among men.

The 2013 Caucasus Barometer (CB) shows that women who are divorced or widowed tend to say they are less happy than men who are divorced or widowed. In Azerbaijani society, divorced females and widows suffer from a great deal of insecurity and instability, especially since the stigma about divorce is large.

If you are interested in further exploring these issues or would like more information, see the Caucasus Barometer website here.

By Aynur Ramazanova

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