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Are Marriage Rates Falling?

Marriage rates are the best indicators of annual trends because they take into account the numbers of unmarried people in the country. The UK’s Office for National Statistics has released its 2018 annual bulletin on Marriages in England & Wales. These latest statistics relate to marriages in 2015 and were published here on 28 February 2018.

As can be seen in the table below, marriage rates are now at the lowest on record (for over 150 years!). In 2015 there were 21.7 marriages per thousand unmarried men and 19.8 marriages per thousand unmarried women aged 16 and over. These figures relate to opposite sex couples.

Marriage rates fell for all age groups except those over 50, compared to the previous year.

Marriage Rate

Marriage Rates in England & Wales 2015

There were 239,020 marriages between opposite-sex couples in England and Wales in 2015, a 3.4% decrease compared with 2014.

Other interesting statistics of note:

  • Only 26% of ceremonies were religious, down from a peak of 85% in 1900.
  • In 2015 there were 6,493 marriages between same-sex couples. Of these, 44% (2,860) were between male couples and 56% (3,633) were between female couples.
  • 9,156 same-sex couples converted their civil partnership into a marriage.
  • For marriages of opposite-sex couples, the average (mean) age for men marrying in 2015 was 37.5 years, while for women it was 35.1 years.
  • The average age at marriage for same-sex couples in 2015 was slightly higher at 40.6 years for men and 37.0 years for women.

To read more statistics about divorces, click through to our recent blog How Many UK Marriages End in Divorce (and other interesting statistics)?

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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