Beaches, bikies, boobs, booms, busts and break-ups. The Gold Coast tops them all, including divorces. As the late scientist, Professor Julius Sumner Miller always prefaced, “Why is it so?”
(See Rick’s column in The Gold Coast Bulletin.)
Currently the divorce rate for first marriages has now reached just over 40 per cent. One in every two (first) marriages ends in divorce. For second marriages, the divorce rate is just over 50 per cent. For third or subsequent marriages, it is greater than 60 per cent.
If you think that seems high, consider how many people you know who have been or are going through divorce and that includes de facto couples. Now take it step further. Consider the number of children at your child’s school whose parents you know have separated or re-partnered. There are some schools on the Gold Coast where more than 70 per cent of the children live in single or step-parent families.
Queensland has the highest divorce rate in Australia. Why is it that the Gold Coast is the divorce capital? Proportionately, Queensland remains the fastest growing state in Australia. The Gold Coast has a disproportionately high number of matters being heard every day in the Family Court at Brisbane.
Many couples relocating to the Gold Coast have been married or in de facto relationships, previously. Straight away, that puts them in the higher risk category.
As demographer, Bernard Salt, noted in one of his previous commentaries, “Queensland’s and accordingly Gold Coast’s, transient nature and high interstate migration level, directly impacts the number of ‘souring relationships’….The stress of establishing a new household, building a new life in a new State and the disconnection from family support networks affects relationships to a greater degree in Queensland than you find in other States” and that is magnified on the Gold Coast.
Nowhere else is the economic ‘roller coaster’ as profound as it is on the Gold Coast. Australia was challenged by the GFC but the Gold Coast felt the full brunt. Conversely, in good economic times, the Gold Coast has been historically unmatched for boom conditions, once more giving couples the ‘green light’ to separate knowing that the impact of divorce has far less adverse consequences economically.
At the height of the GFC, nowhere else did property values fall so low, office and shop occupancy rates hit such highs, and unemployment queues grow so fast.
For the time being at least, the Gold Coast seems assured of retaining the unique distinction of being the divorce capital of Australia.