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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 

Marriage rates in England hit an all-time low

The Guardian (via Hot Air Headlines) reports that marriage rates in the blighty are dropping considerably:
Marriage rates in England and Wales have fallen to the lowest level on record, government figures published today have revealed.

The proportion of adults who chose to marry in 2006 fell to the lowest level since marriage rates were first calculated in 1862, according to provisional figures published by the Office for National Statistics.

In 2006, 22.8 men per 1,000 unmarried men aged 16 and over got married, down from 24.5 in 2005.

The marriage rate for women in 2006 was 20.5 per 1,000 unmarried women aged 16 and over, down from 21.9 in 2005.

In 2006, the number of marriages fell by 4%, compared with the previous year, to 236,980. This is the lowest annual number of marriages since 1895, when there were 228,204.

More than three-fifths (61%) of all marriages in 2006 were the first for both parties, while remarriages for both parties accounted for just under one fifth (18%).

First marriages have fallen by more than one third (37%) since 1981, while remarriages have fallen by a quarter.

The figures show that people are also waiting longer until they marry. The average age at which men married was 36.4 years in 2006, a rise of almost five years since 1991.

The average age at which women married in 2006 was 33.7, an increase of just over 4.5 years since 1991.

Final figures for 2005, published by the ONS today, show marriages fell by 9% from the previous year.

The largest fall occurred in London (29%) and the smallest in the north-east of England (3%).
And even if they're opting for what's called common-law marriages, there may be a problem there too, if the last paragraph is any indication:
"The break-up of cohabiting couples is much higher than married couples. Cohabitation is clearly not a satisfactory arrangement as far as children are concerned."
This is a little cloudy, but if my estimates are correct, they're saying that children are what lead to a breakup? Oh, geez.

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