Fewer South Africans are getting married, with the number of registered unions dropping by nearly ten percent between 2003 and 2010, a study showed on Wednesday.
"The number of civil and customary marriages registered every year declined by eight percent," the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) a survey found despite a 12 percent population growth over the same seven years.
Customary marriages took the largest plunge, dropping 42 percent compared to civil marriages that declined by four percent.
In the meantime the number of households grew 19 percent over the same period.
In South Africa, customary marriages are a negotiated contract conducted by families under African traditional systems while civil marriages are performed by government-licensed officers, including religious officers.
SAIRR said marriage trends were a barometer of lifestyle changes.
"The number of households is going up and the average household size is going down. This suggests that more people may be choosing to live on their own or with unmarried partners," said Thuthukani Ndebele, a researcher with the institute.