Both the number of marriages and the number of people cohabiting in England and Wales increased during 2011, new statistics show.
According to newly released figures from the Office for National Statistics, there were almost two per cent more marriages in 2011 than in the previous year – 247,890, compared to 243,808 in 2010.
The majority involved couples aged 25 t0 29 and were civil ceremonies, the statistics reveal. The percentage of marriages featuring civil ceremonies has also increased, from 64 per cent in 2001 to 70 per cent a decade later.
The proportion of people living together before marriage also increased, both for couples who went on to have a civil marriage and for those opting for a religious ceremony in a church. A significant 88 per cent of couples opting for a civil marriages in 2011 had cohabited beforehand, up from 75 per cent in 1994.
Meanwhile, 78 per cent of couples opting for a religious wedding in 2011 had lived together before the big day – almost twice as many as in 1994, when only 41 per cent cohabited before the marriage.