3.6 Marriages

The degree of intermarriage between Maltese and non Maltese is of great significance in relation to a number of factors, including maintenance of language, culture and religion. In particular, the effect of intermarriage on educational achievement is expected to be seen about 20 years later when children start leaving school and entering the work-force.

The latest (1986) census statistics show that 62.7% of Maltese-born bridegrooms marry Australian-born brides, and 52.6 % of Maltese-born brides marry Australian-born grooms (Castles, 1989). This continues the trend seen over the past 40 years, namely that Maltese have a high tendency to marry non-Maltese. There was always a higher proportion of grooms than brides marrying Australian-born spouses. In fact in 1954 , almost 38% of all grooms and only 9.8% of brides married Australian-born partners. By 1986, these figures climbed to over 63% and 53% respectively, with females marrying Australian-born partners almost as frequently as males.

Fig 3.5 - Rate of intermarriage between Maltese and non-Maltese born. (Source - Census 1986)

Fig 3.5 - Rate of intermarriage between Maltese and non-Maltese born. (Source - Census 1986)

Compared to other ethnic groups, the degree of intermarriage among the Maltese is one of the highest. As Price says: "The process of mixing has, therefore, been quite rapid ... On present trends, although slower in some groups than others, the mixing process will continue quite strongly ... well over two-thirds of the Australian people have at least two ethnic origins and that nearly one-half have three or more, and some as many as eight" (Price 1988, p 127-128).

The divorce rate of 6 - 7 % is one of the lowest amongst European migrants (10.1%) or the Australian- born population (11.9%). Even the peak divorce rate among those aged 15-24 years of age (11.0 % ) is appreciably less than the Australian rate for the same age group (17-20%).

Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990

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