As discussed in The Economist, until the economy became the big subject we heard a lot from politicians about “Broken Britain”, the reduction in marriage and the increase in divorce.
Indeed recently, a Conservative think-tank has been suggesting counselling pre-marriage, a 3 month “cooling off” period before a divorce can be started and tax assistance if you get married (some of us are old enough to recall when this was normal!)
So, what are the facts?
Marriage is certainly in decline, rates are reported to be at their lowest since 1895! But the average age of people getting married is going up quite fast and that tends to create longer marriages. It won’t surprise you to hear that there are many, many more broken homes than there were although when you think how many single parent families there were just after the First and Second World War that weren’t called “broken homes” that perhaps puts that in perspective.
The divorce rate is going down, too but then perhaps it would if the marriage rates is going down. So, is it the young or the elderly where the rate of divorce is increasing? You may be surprised to hear it is the elderly who are getting divorced more.
Should “family” be seen as meaning “marriage” any more?
Is marriage and the family in terminal decline?