Divorce rates remained high in Dubai despite the economic recovery, with 1,129 divorces recorded in the Gulf’s commercial and business hub in 2012.
The figure meant that the emirate of more than two million people, mostly foreigners, had an average of around three divorces a day, accounting for almost a quarter of the total marriages last year, official data showed on Tuesday.
Previous reports had shown marriage and divorce in Dubai and other UAE emirates had always been associated with the domestic economic situation, with weddings rising when there is an economic upturn and divorces surging when there is a downturn.
In 2012, marriages increased to 4,301 from 4,121 in 2011 and the weddings last year involved 1,096 Emirati spouses, according to the figures, provided by Abdul Rahim Al Hashmi, chairman of the personal affairs section at the Dubai courts.
Although Emiratis account for just less than a fifth of the emirate’s population, they exceeded a third of the total divorces last year, with 379 cases.
“There were 530 marriages last year involving Emirati men and foreign women…we also recorded 137 divorces within this group,” he told Emirat Alyoum newspaper.
Over the past decade, he UAE has recorded the highest divorce rate in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) relative to its population and marriage rates. A large portion of the divorces involved Emiratis.
In 2010, more than a fifth of the marriages involving national spouses ended up in divorce. Marriages involving local spouses totalled 10,008 in 2010, including 7,553 national couples, 1,798 native men and foreign women, and 737 local women and foreign men, showed the figures by the National Statistics Bureau.
Excluding foreign couples, divorces totalled 2,181 accounting for nearly 21.6 per cent of the total marriages, the highest divorce rate in the GCC.
Divorces in mixed marriages were much higher than those in local marriages, accounting for 27.2 per cent in 2010 compared with 19.6 per cent among national spouses. Divorce was highest in marriages involving local husbands and foreign wives, standing at around 32.4 per cent. Divorce was lowest in marriages involving foreign husbands and national wives accounting for 15.1 per cent.
The report showed there were 1,278 divorce cases among expatriate couples but gave no figures on their marriages.
In a recent study, the Emirates Marriage Fund said divorces in the UAE were higher in 2011 over 2010 but gave no figures for that year. It said the increase maintained the UAE’s position as having the highest divorce rate in the GCC, which also groups Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.