More older people than ever before are marrying and divorcing, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported.
In a new analysis of previously published data, the ONS notes a huge 46 per cent increase in the number of brides and grooms over the age of 65. Just 7,468 tied the knot in 2004 but by 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, this had risen to 10,937.
The male propensity for marrying younger women was reflected even in this age group. No less than 56 per cent of the men aged over 65 who married in 2014 had a younger bride, compared to only 22 per cent of the women.
As might be excepted, the vast majority (92 per cent) of the older people walking up the aisle or heading for the registry office in 2014 had been married before and subsequently divorced or been widowed.
According to the ONS these figures may reflect the twilight of the influential ‘baby boomer’ generation, a term generally understood to refer to people born between the end of the Second World War and the early 1960s.
A further factor, say the ONS, is the rise in average life expectancy. In 2004 a 64 year-old man could expect on average another 17 years on the planet and a woman that age a further 20 years . These figures have since increased to 19 years for men and 22 years for women.
The overall number of people aged 65 or over increased by 20 per cent over the decade between 2004 and 2014.
The ONS conclude:
“In the future, people in England aged 65 and over are more likely to be living with just their partner than on their own, according to projections by the Department for Communities and Local Government. This may be because of the large number of post-war “baby boomers” living longer, combined with the closing of the gap between male and female life expectancy, meaning fewer widows and widowers living on their own. Older people forming relationships later in life may also be a factor.”
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