Marriage in Britain

The marriage rate in Britain has collapsed to its lowest point since its government began keeping statistics in 1862. Even when discounting population growth, the numbers are embarrassingly low. According to Britain's Office for National Statistics (BONS), in 2006, the United Kingdom recorded a little over 228,000 marriages – its lowest number since 1895, when its population was barely half what it is today.

The BONS study notes that the institution of marriage has been steadily eroding since the early 1970s:

  • For Brits who choose to marry, 45 per cent of new marriages will end in divorce; added to that, the average age for women entering first-time marriages is nearly 30 – for men, it's 32.

  • Of the marriages that stay together, based on a recent column in the London Times, an incredible 59 per cent of married women said they would leave their husbands tomorrow if they could be assured of economic stability; meanwhile, half of the husbands questioned defined their marriage as "loveless."

  • Forty per cent of British babies are now born out of wedlock; the teen pregnancy rate in England and Wales is six times higher than in Holland – three times that of France.

  • Violent crime among teenagers in the United Kingdom has increased 37 per cent in just three years, according to the London Telegraph; total offences climbed steadily from 184,474 in 2003 to 222,750 in 2006, the last year for which figures are available – a rise of 21 per cent.

    In response to the study, British researcher Patricia Morgan says that the government has succeeded in "eradicating" marriage. "This is what they have tried to achieve and they should be congratulating themselves," Morgan said. "But it is a disaster for children, families and society."

    Source: Stephen Flurry, Britain's Broken Society, The Trumpet, March 28, 2008.

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    For more on Social Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 16 April 2008
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