The number of Austrians tying the knot is on the rise, new figures have shown.Statistik Austria announced today (Fri) there had been 16,588 marriages in the first six months of this year, up by 5.9 per cent compared to the same period of 2009.The number of weddings soared most significantly in capital Vienna (7.5 per cent) and in the province of Salzburg (7.4 per cent). Carinthia was the only province registering a year on year decline in the first six months of 2010 (1.9 per cent).The state agency also said there had been 429 “official partnership agreements” by homosexual couples between January and June 2010, the first period in which this option has been available following agreement between Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Peoples Party (ÖVP) last year. At 215, around half of them occurred in Vienna, according to Statistik Austria.The Austrian birth rate has meanwhile been found to be the second-lowest in the European Union (EU).Eurostat, the European Commissions (EC) statistics agency, announced last month there had been 9.1 births per 1,000 inhabitants in Austria last year. The body said that only Germany had had a lower rate (7.9). Ireland was reported as having the highest birth rate among the EU-27 with 16.8 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2009.An overall 68,689 babies were born in Austria last year, down by 1.9 per cent year on year.