Fewer marriages and more divorces.

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Last year marked a significant rise in divorces and births while marriages and deaths declined in Switzerland.

The Federal Statistics Office says marriages have declined almost every year since 1992, when they numbered more than 45,000, and dropped to a new low at 39,500 last year.

At the same time there were also 17,900 divorces in 2004, or 6.8 per cent more than the previous year, the steepest rise since 1988. If last year's figure remains constant, the office expects that 44 per cent of all marriages in Switzerland will end in divorce.

On a happier note, the office also reports 73,100 births last year, 1.7 per cent more than the previous year, The number of births has remained relatively stable since 2001...

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