Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Death of Marriage

Not only is the proportion of adults who are married in the UK at its lowest level since 1862, it is less than HALF of what it was then--when the population was HALF of what it is now!

This does not bode well for Western society...

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, said that in 2006, fewer than ten in every 1,000 single adults in England and Wales were married.

Among men the rate was 22.8 in every 1,000, among women 20.5. When marriage-rates were first calculated in 1862 the level was 58.7 for men and 50 for women.

Even during the world war years marriage rates for women never dropped below 40 in 1,000. They fell below 30 for the first time in 1995.

The raw numbers of weddings in the figures for 2006 also tell the dramatic story.

There were 236,980 marriages, the fewest since 228,204 were recorded in 1895, a year in which Oscar Wilde was sent to Reading jail, W.G. Grace scored his 100th century and Queen Victoria had still to celebrate her jubilee.

In 1895, there were around 30 million people in England and Wales compared with more than 54 million now.

The general decline of marriage has been under way since 1972 when there were 426,000 weddings and marriage rates were more than 78 in 1,000 for men and 60 for women.


Religious marriages numbered fewer than 80,000.

Of the 157,490 civil weddings, 95,300 were held in "approved" premises - stately homes, hotels or even football ground hospitality suites which have been permitted to stage weddings since 1995.

The age of first-time brides and bridegrooms is continuing to increase. Women are nearly 30 while the man is almost 32.

On a more personal note, apparently I'm bucking the trend, what with my upcoming Catholic wedding at age 22 and all...


Brian Boyd said...

hooray for Big Catholic Families!
Well, not yet, but you'll have plenty of time to get there, I suppose :)

promise you'll let me practice the "football cradle" on your firstborn?

(For those not in the know, the "football cradle" - taught to me by a truly great Notre Dame professor who shall remain nameless - is a one-handed horizontal baby-hold wherein the child's legs are gently but firmly held between one's lower forearm/elbow and stomach, the spine is along one's forearm, and the head is grasped in the palm. This allows for both horizontal and vertical motion with a minimum of effort - and, crucially, offers one the opportunity to hold "my baby in one hand and my Aristotle in the other," as the aforementioned professor explained.)

Brandon said...

Ah, one caveat Brian. My father infamously used the football cradle to quite me as an infant, and look how I turned out. Eh.

On a more serious note, how is England population growth rate so slow? They must have been having fewer children for a long time before marriages started to decline.

Anonymous said...

reading the article, i thought it was interesting to note that alot of the decline was due to money issues, since tax benefits have been slowly withdrawn and now favor individuals with children.

Will America go the same route?

From the article:
David Davis said: "This is a sad indictment of the Government's policies which have penalised families and fuelled family breakdown.

"Stable families are the best formula for bringing up children and preventing delinquency, anti-social behaviour and crime.

"So a failed family policy is itself a major cause of crime."