We are gathered here today to tell you Denver wedding and divorce statistics

Denverites keep getting hitched in increasing numbers, while divorces are staying mostly flat.
4 min. read
Arturo Gonzalez Munetones and Jackeline Morales Borjas tie the knot on Valentine’s Day at the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building, Feb. 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Hold on a second. Let's take a stroll down 2019 -- the year of love in Denver.

While Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper made us all swoon at the Oscars, and "The Avengers: Endgame" made a gazillion dollars, President Trump served fast food at the White House, and the U.S. Women's national soccer team laid waste to competition en route to a fourth World Cup, Denver was busy falling in love.

Denver City Clerk and Recorder Paul López dubbed 2019 the year of love last month when his office announced they had issued 8,692 marriage licenses, a record for the city. Though to be fair, it's not that much higher than in 2018, when 8,668 couples tied the knot.

The spike is a part of a larger trend in Denver, a city that as we all know has grown at a steady pace over the past several years. Data from 2019 to 2006 -- the past 14 years -- shows marriage licenses issued in the city increased every year since 2008. The biggest jump was between 2013 and 2014, when the city had a 24.7 percent increase in marriage licenses issued (1,414 more licenses overall).

Use the left axis for the red divorce and blue marriage lines and the right axis for the yellow population line. (Sources: Denver Clerk and Recorder, Colorado Judicial Branch Annual Statistical Report and U.S. Census)

Alton Dillard, a spokesman for the city's clerk's office, speculates the city's growth and the increase in marriage licenses issued probably go hand-in-hand. Dillard said it's also pretty easy to get a marriage license in Denver.

Marriage licenses are administered at the Wellington Webb Building, where codifying your relationship will set you back $30. You can begin applying for one online, a bit like making a restaurant reservation but for a very long meal.

At the same time, dissolution of marriage filings, the technical term for divorce, have stayed relatively flat during the same time span. The figures come from the Colorado Judicial Branch, which oversees Denver District Court. Judicial branch spokesperson Rob McCallum said over email anyone can file a dissolution of marriage in Denver District Court, no matter where they're from. A caveat: Divorces are pricey, costing up to several thousand dollars, way more than a marriage license.

The increase between marriage licenses issued in 2019 (8,692) and 2006 (4,801) is a whopping 81 percent. Comparing the same years for divorces shows a modest 10 percent increase.

The office offers free wedding ceremonies on Valentine's Days, offering up judges and clergy (you still have to cough up the $30, it's state law). The office already had 60 appointments set for today, way above what Dillard said is their daily average of about 20. Dillard said they may close in on the century mark today.

The most popular month to wed? That would be August, which over the 2019 to 2006 span was the busiest month for marriage licenses 11 times. Dillard has no idea why this month is so popular.

"We get spikes on all kinds of days," Dillard said. "We get spikes on everything from, people who aren't superstitious, you'll see an uptick on Friday the 13th, or if there is an interesting date like a palindrome day or something like that."

Nationally, divorce rates have dropped. A university study in 2018 suggested the rate dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016. The culprits for the drop are something Denver has in spades: Millennials. They're reportedly contributing to this drop by taking longer to wait before marrying.

And if by chance you find yourself alone but seeking a date, don't fret. WalletHub last year named Denver the second-best city for singles. So, you know, chin up, buttercup?

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