Close to half of people now aged 20 will never marry, the Marriage Foundation has claimed.
Forty-eight per cent of women and 47 per cent of men currently at that age will not wed in their lifetimes, the campaign group said.
In a newly published report entitled Who’s still getting married these days?, the Foundation examined relationship data published by the Office for National Statistics last summer.
Rates of marriage amongst people in their 20s have dropped by 90 per cent since 1970, when 564,818 young people were married, the report declares. Forty years later the figure had dropped to just 56,598. According to the Foundation, just five per cent of men and ten per cent of aged 25 year-olds are currently married. In 1970 the figures stood at 60 and 80 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, the report claims, 39 per cent of men now aged 40 will never marry, along with 32 per cent of women – a drop of 26 and 24 per cent respectively.
Marriage Foundation Research Director Harry Benson said older people still provided a positive role models, demonstrating that long term marriages were possible with effort and communication.
But, he continued:
“… fewer of today’s forty year olds will be in a position to demonstrate the positives of a stable household cemented by marriage.”
“Their children’s generation, currently in their twenties will suffer twofold; first from a higher level of family breakdown when they themselves are young and secondly from the lack of familiarity with the benefits of marriage as they look to start their own families.”
Successful and stable cohabiting relationships are “very rare”, Mr Benson claimed. Living together made people less likely to want to marry and more likely to split up, he declared.
“It is a case of once bitten twice shy; if a cohabiting relationship breaks down, people are less likely to trust a future relationship enough to commit to it with marriage.”
Harry Benson added:
“Family stability remains the one most important factor for a child’s development. Children from broken homes are more likely to be implicated in truancy, juvenile delinquency and to suffer from mental health issues.”
Photo by Vladimir Yaitskiy via Flickr