PETALING JAYA: More Malaysians are marrying outside their own race following trends around the world where ethnicity lines are blurring.
The Department of Statistics Malaysia’s Marriage and Divorce Statistics report noted that 9% of the total marriages (18,509 out of 206,253 marriages) last year involved those of different ethnic groups.
“Out of 18,509 inter-ethnic marriages in 2018,48.3% was Muslim and 51.7% was non-Muslim inter-ethnic marriages, ” the statement said yesterday.
This was an increase from the 8% recorded in 2017 (16,238 out of 203,741 marriages).
In comparison, interracial marriages grew across the United States from 7.4% to 10.2% from 2000 to 2012-2016, according to to the US Census Bureau.
Nearer to home, Singapore’s 2018 statistics showed that inter-ethnic marriages in the republic continued to increase over the years with 22.4% last year compared to 22.1% in 2017.
The latest Malaysian statistics report contained data on marriages and divorces by state, administrative district, sex, age and ethnic group for the year 2017 and 2018.
In terms of overall marriages, chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said there was an increase of 1.2% from 203,741 in 2017 compared to 206,253 last year.
“The crude marriage rate remained at 6.4 per 1,000 population, ” he said.
Statistics also showed that Muslim marriages increased by 1.9% while non-Muslim marriages declined by 0.5%.
The department also found that the most popular month for Muslim marriages was in September while non-Muslims was in August.
However, it noted that the least popular month for Muslim and non-Muslim marriages was in May and April respectively last year.
The report also revealed that the median age of grooms and brides have remained at 28 and 26 respectively.
It added that the oldest age for a groom and bride was at 92 and 83 respectively.
Mohd Uzir said the number of divorces rose marginally by 0.1% from 50,314 in 2017 to 50,356 in 2018.
Muslim divorces increased by 1.4% while non-Muslim divorces declined by 4.9%.