Naritas Finance
Daily Bulletin

News

  • Written by Thomas Sigler, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, The University of Queensland
Married at First Sight's closer to reality than you'd think, demographically speaking at least

Now in its sixth season, the Nine Network’s wildly successful Married At First Sight chronicles the adventures of 12 couples as they navigate the highs and lows of married life. The premise of the show is relatively simple: each contestant (MAFS reportedly received 10,000 applications) is evaluated by “relationship experts” and matched with a partner. Each pair ties the knot without ever having met and – poof! — they’re married at first sight!

The show shoehorns a lifetime of matrimonial issues into a few dozen episodes. Over the course of the season, viewers witness the daily ups-and-downs of marriage and cohabitation, and ultimately we learn the difficulty of matchmaking. MAFS’s couples fight, they cheat and – spoiler alert – most separate (divorce?) within a matter of weeks.

Read more: Married at first sight: latest reality TV show poses as 'social experiment'

But if MAFS is merely reality TV, then why is it so popular? Could we be addicted to gratuitous programming? In part yes — reality TV has ruled the roost since 2001, when Big Brother arrived on our shores and averaged 1.4 million viewers each night. But could it also be that MAFS is reality? In a world of Tinder dates and lunchtime botox, maybe MAFS is more of a reality check than a social experiment.

Below are five reasons that Married at First Sight reflects the demographic realities of modern Australia.

1) Australians increasingly cohabit prior to marriage. One of MAFS’s more earnest attributes is the awkwardness of sharing a bed with someone you barely know. Research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that 81% of Australians co-habit prior to marriage, up from 16% in 1975. The proportion aged 15 years and over living in de facto relationships has doubled in the past 20 years, from 5% in 1996 to 10% in 2016.

Read more: Explainer: what legal benefits do married couples have that de facto couples do not?

The Australian Study of Sex and Relationships found that Australian men and women reported having had an average of 18 and 8 sexual partners, respectively. From the first episode of MAFS onward, contestant Matthew Bennett is teased by his male co-stars about his lack of (any) sexual experience, suggesting this is far from the norm among the cohort.

2) Marriage has been delayed. A common refrain uttered by MAFS contestants is that they have sacrificed love for a career. For Cameron, that was professional cricket; for Jules, that was running a successful hair and beauty business.

The contestants range from 25 (Susie) to 43 (Mike), averaging 29.5 for the show’s females and 32.5 for its males. This reflects national averages for marriages of 30.1 for females and 32.0 for males. In 1997 these numbers were 27.5 for females and 29.7 for males respectively.

3) Despite this, marriage remains a strong institution. The 1911 Australian Census revealed that 46.0% of the population aged 15 and over was married. Divorce was virtually non-existent and was made more difficult by archaic laws. The proportions increased steadily until the marriage boom of the mid-20th century.

Today’s figure of 48.1% is remarkably close to what it was a century ago, but down from 53.2% at the 1996 census. The 2017 referendum on same-sex marriage demonstrates that a majority of Australians (61.6%) now support a broad and inclusive definition of marriage.

Notwithstanding, the national marriage rate is declining — from 9.3 marriages per 1,000 Australian residents in 1970 to 4.6 marriages per 1,000 in 2017. So is the divorce rate, though. It has fallen from a peak of 4.6 per 1,000 in 1976 (tied to the introduction of no-fault divorce) to 2.0 per 1,000 in 2017, with a median length of marriage to separation of 8.2 years, and to divorce of 12.

4) Modern Australia is urban. Despite the “Outback” image presented to the rest of world, Australia is approximately 90% urbanised (depending on how we define a “city”). Consistent with national figures, the MAFS crew are overwhelmingly urban.

Eight contestants (33%) live in Sydney and eight more in Brisbane, Melbourne or Perth. Regional contestants from Gympie, Newcastle and Townsville are almost perfectly aligned with national data showing that Australia’s urban populations are divided between major cities (72%) and “inner regional” (18%) parts of the country.

5) Modern Australians are multicultural. In addition to their geographic distribution, MAFS contestants have a range of ethnic and national backgrounds. Of this season’s contestants, nine (38%) self-report a discernible non-Australian identity (either them or their parents).

This reflects the waves of migrants that have rendered Australian cities some of the most ethnically diverse on Earth. Ines fled civil war in Bosnia, while Filipino, Greek, Italian, Thai and other national identities are proudly represented by respective contestants.

Thus, in contrast to many of the previous reality shows depicting the Ocker Australian (e.g. Farmer Wants a Wife), the diversity of MAFS is significantly more true to life. According to the most recent census data, 49% of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent that was.

So, as we have shown, reality TV may not be too far from reality after all – at least in terms of demography.

Read more: Census 2016 puts on display the increasing diversity in Australians' relationships

Authors: Thomas Sigler, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, The University of Queensland

Read more http://theconversation.com/married-at-first-sights-closer-to-reality-than-youd-think-demographically-speaking-at-least-112226

Politics

Tasmanian Defence Innovation and Design Precinct

MORRISON GOVERNMENT DELIVERS ON DEFENCE INNOVATION PRECINCT FOR LAUNCESTON The Morrison Government will invest $30 million in Phase 1 of the Tasmanian Defence Innovation and Design Precinct at th...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

Alan Jones interview with Scott Morrison

Bill Shorten’s big new taxes; our strong Budget for a strong economy; supporting essential services; Murray Darling Basin; ALAN JONES: Prime Minister, good morning. PRIME MINISTER: Good morning A...

Alan Jones - avatar Alan Jones

The Morrison Government’s Pledge to Create More Jobs for Young Australians

The Morrison Government’s plan for a stronger economy will create 250,000 extra jobs for young Australians.   We will back young Australians to secure a great job by giving them the chance to gain...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

Business News

How to Become a Farmer That Makes Serious Profits in 5 Steps

A career in farming can be incredibly lucrative, if you have the right tools and know-how. Here's how to become a farmer that makes big profits in 5 steps.   Australia's farm industry makes up abo...

News Company - avatar News Company

5 signs you need to update your office furniture

Sometimes it is obvious that you need to update your workplace furniture. It may be physically broken, like an office chair that has lost its ability to be adjusted up and down. Or perhaps the desks...

Belinda Lyone, General Manager of COS - avatar Belinda Lyone, General Manager of COS

Independent online mortgage marketplace HashChing

MORTGAGE MARKETPLACE LAUNCHES CONVEYANCING SERVICES TO MAKE HOME LOAN PROCESS CHEAP AND FAST New legal partnership gives borrowers easy, online access to high quality solicitors at a fixed price  ...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

Travel

Things to Consider Before Emigrating to Australia

Moving abroad is often a big and an overwhelming decision that can hugely change your life and your future. Therefore, it is important to spend some time considering where you want to move to and rese...

News Company - avatar News Company

The Majestic City of Innsbruck

Innsbruck is the capital city of Tyrol and is the fifth largest city in Austria. It is located in western Austria between the high mountains of Karwendel Alps in the north and Patscherkofel in t...

Nico Hoffmann - avatar Nico Hoffmann

Bedsonline hosts Australian events to celebrate new brand launch

SYDNEY, April 15, 2019 Bedsonline(https://www.bedsonline.com/home/en-na), the leading global provider of accommodation and complementary travel products exclusively for travel agents, has hosted a ser...

Bedsonline - avatar Bedsonline

ShowPo