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News – Singles outnumber married

August 2008

Singles outnumber married

 

Married people now probably make up less than half the population, a new report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) claims. Recent years have seen a steady decline in the proportion of married over-16s, with numbers falling by between 100,000 and 150,000 each year since 1995.

     The proportion was 50.3% in 2005 – the latest year for which exact figures are available. However, the ONS report says that the reduced proportion of married people is partly due to the fact that many are marrying later.

     ‘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 report explains.

     Married people still greatly out-number divorcees or those choosing to cohabit. Over 21 million people aged over 16 were married in 2005. Just 4 million were divorced and 3.3 million were widows or widowers. Other figures from the ONS show that married couples outnumber cohabiting couples six to one.

     Robert Whelan, of the Civitas think tank, warned that the decline in marriage would be harmful for society. ‘We are looking at a future in which fewer and fewer people will live as married couples’, he said, according to a report from The Christian Institute.

     ‘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’.

 

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