Married couples in minority

Number of married couples hits all-time low

Married couples are officially in the minority in the UK for the first time.

New statistics show that the rising divorce rate and the increasing number of couples cohabiting mean that less than half the population are now married.

The news indicates that the majority of people over the age of 16 are now single, divorced or widowed, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Data from 2005 revealed that the number of married people in England and Wales dropped to 50.3%.

‘The trends in marriage and divorce suggest that a continued decline will be observed in the proportion of the population that is married,’ the ONS report said.

‘However, this is in part due to marriage occurring at later ages. The latest projections of the population by marital status suggest that although the proportion of married people in the population will fall, still a substantial proportion of people will marry eventually.’

The number of weddings in England and Wales however in 2006 was just 236, 980 – the lowest recorded number since 1895.

A spokesman from thinktank Civitas commented expressed his concerns about the growing trend saying: ‘All the consequences will be seen in terms of poorer health, lower incomes, more benefit dependency, increased drug and alcohol abuse, and growing crime and anti-social behaviour. Unfortunately no-one in Government seems to care enough to do anything about it.’

Currently the number of cohabiting women and men is thought to be more than 4 million.

Other data from the newly released statistics showed that there is no link between marriages that end in divorce and age gap between couples. Furthermore in the last 40 years there has been a move away from marrying older husbands. Now the age gap between couples is closer to zero.

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