JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The year that wasn’t a lot of things to a lot of people was even less for couples considering marriage. According to data obtained by First Coast News, the number of marriage licenses in Duval County dropped from 6,029 in 2019 to just 4,045 last year – a decline of 33%.
That mirrors the statewide decline of 33%, as calculated by Bowling Green State University’s Center for Family and Demographic Research, and is higher than the 26% decline in Florida reported by the American Sociological Association.
Nationwide, Bloomberg.com reported what they dubbed a “marriage shortfall” in 2020 of 339,917 still un-hitched couples.
The great COVID decoupling comes at a time when the institution of marriage was already in precipitous decline. According to the National Center for Health Statistics marriage rates hit an all-time low in 2018, the most recently recorded year.
But while fewer unions were formed, divorces also declined. Many predicted close quarters and quarantine would cause a spike in divorces, but in Jacksonville divorce filings dropped from 4,383 in 2019 to 3,751 last year – a decline of 14%. (Not nearly as high as the statewide decline of 33%).
Below are other figures provided by the Duval County Clerk of Courts Office.
Marriage Licenses Recorded
Divorce Cases Filed
Foreclosure Cases Filed
Circuit Civil Cases Filed
Small Claims Filed*
*The upper limit for a small claims action was raised from $5,000 to $8,000, which accounts for much of the uptick seen.
Felony Cases Filed
Misdemeanor Cases Filed