UK Marriage Index 2010

John Hayward, February 2010

Marriage rates in England and Wales have fallen to their lowest level since records began in 1862.†graph This need not necessarily be a bad thing as the number of marriages in a given year may mask, for instance, the fact that there were an unusually high number of marriages in the previous year or that most people are already married. More worryingly, however, a broader measure of the health of marriage introduced by the Jubilee Centre in 2009 has also dropped to a new low, dipping below 60 per cent for the first time.

The Marriage Index incorporates five marriage indicators, as shown in the table below. As the bottom line shows, the overall Index now stands at just 59.5 per cent:

Percentage of First Marriages Intact (ages 24-54) 68.0%
Percentage of Children Living with Own Married Parents 62.9%
Percentage of Married Persons Satisfied with Their Marriage 61.5%
Percentage of Births to Married Parents 54.7%
Percentage of Adults Married (ages 24-54) 50.4%
Combined UK score 59.5%

As we concluded previously, this challenges each of us to get more involved in our communities. It asks, ‘Will you get involved in – or start – a relationship and parenting education programme? Will you be intentional about talking to children about marriage? Will you encourage young people to see dating within the context of finding and winning the right person for marriage?’

For further information, see The UK Marriage Index 2009

† The provisional marriage rate for men in 2008 was 21.8 men marrying per 1,000 unmarried men aged 16 and over, compared with 22.4 in 2007 and 31.1 in 1998. The provisional marriage rate for women in 2008 was 19.6 women marrying per 1,000 unmarried women aged 16 and over, compared with 20.2 in 2007 and 26.6 in 1998.

Updated figures for the Index were drawn from the Office of National Statistics, including the report Social Trends Chapter 2: Households and families, December 2009

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Category: News and Reviews

February, 2010

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