Fewer people are getting divorced in England and Wales, figures released in June show. Is this a cause for celebration? Reality Check asks whether we are becoming a nation of couples living happily ever after.
In 2015, the most recent year we have figures for, 101,055 opposite sex couples divorced in England and Wales, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This was a fall of 9.1% from the year before and down 34% from a peak in 2003.
But the important figure to look at is the rate. This is the number of every 1,000 people married who are getting divorced and will indicate how stable marriage is. The 2015 figures show that for both men and women the rate dropped to 8.5 per 1,000, from 9.3 the year before. You can see from the graph below that this rate has continued to fall since a peak in 2004.
This suggests that marriage has indeed become more stable. So are we a nation full of happily married couples?
Tying the knot
Well, for the past 45 years, the number of people of the opposite sex getting married has largely been falling.
In 2014, the last year for which we have data, there were 247,372 marriages between opposite sex couples in England and Wales. This was slightly up on the previous year, 2013, which saw the lowest marriage rate on record. Calculated per 1,000 population, the rate was 22.5 for men and 20.4 for women.
The ONS think this was probably because of people avoiding the “unlucky” number 13. But there has been a general trend away from tying the knot that began from a peak in 1972, when there were 426,000 marriages.
Living in sin
So while marriage can be seen as more stable, fewer of us are tying the knot. This decline can be explained by a growing number of people who are single and a rise in the number of people living together without getting married.
Cohabitation may no longer be seen as shamefully living in sin, but figures are harder to collate because, unlike marriage, there is no official record. Instead, we need to look at large household surveys. Although data is not directly comparable with annual marriage and divorce rates, this can provide a useful picture.
Figures released by the ONS on Thursday show that 9.8% of the population of England and Wales were cohabiting in 2016. This is up from 6.8% in 2002.
This rise in cohabitation can also be seen in the ONS Families and Households UK survey. This is a UK-wide report based on the Labour Force Survey which interviews 40,000 households every quarter. Here, the ONS definition of family includes same and opposite sex couples with and without dependent children.
From their 2016 sample, the ONS calculated that there were 3.3 million cohabiting families across the UK, more than double the 1996 figure of 1.5 million families. This makes cohabiting the fastest growing family type over the past two decades.
Of course, it will take time before this rise in cohabitation becomes evident in the population as a whole. In fact, married couples remain the most common form of family type at just under 12.7 million. Again, this includes couples with and without dependent children.
To marry or not to marry?
So the question becomes; are people living together happily ever after, even though they aren’t married?
We do not know how many people “divorce” from a cohabiting relationship each year but one way to build a picture of whether cohabiting couples remain happily together, is to compare them with married couples.
In other words, are people who live together more or less likely to end the relationship than those who marry?
Which is more stable – marriage or cohabiting?
Finding an answer to this question involves using longitudinal household surveys that gather data over time.
One useful place is The Millennium Cohort Study, which follows the lives of nearly 19,000 children born in the UK in 2000-2001.
An IFS study of this data found that 9% of couples, married when their child was born, were no longer together when the child turned five, compared with 27% of cohabiting couples.
This suggests that cohabiting couples with children are more likely to “divorce” than married couples.
Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation, who advocates for marriage, and Prof Stephen McKay, from the University of Lincoln, looked at another large dataset from Understanding Society, which surveys 40,000 UK households.
They found that the break-up rate for parents of children who were 14 or 15 in 2009-10 was 24% if the parents were married before the child was born. This rose to 69% in cases where the parents were not married before the child’s birth and remained unmarried.
However, both the Millennium Cohort Study and Understanding Society only have data for cohabiting couples with children. For cohabiting couples without children, we simply do not have good data.
So are we a nation living happily ever after?
Without complete data on cohabitation, it is impossible to know how many unmarried couples continue to live together.
However, the declining divorce rate suggests that marriage itself is becoming more stable.
More From this publisher : HERE
If you like our content help us with a share… or two …
Also - I have some free stuff for you .......
Nr 1. In This FREE Report you can Discover:
Secrets to acquiring the freshest, hottest leads via YouTube In-Stream ads quickly and easily! Best secret tips for the most effective targeting for your ads! Totally legal, but little-known method for literally stealing traffic from your competitors! Get more traffic to your videos and landing pages without spending a fortune! And much more - all within this special FREE report!
Nr 2. Did you know you can Absolutely EXPLODE YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR FREE with UNTOUCHED offline sources?
Nr 3. The #1 secret to becoming an affiliate superstar - Earn your first $100 online – without a dime to invest.
If you’re still looking to “make it online – I have just the thing for you. It’s a video series that shows how to make your first $100 online – even if you don’t have a dime to invest. Yes – nothing. Free. Nada. Is this possible? You bet. It’s the most powerful system used by those “in the know”. Good things don’t have to be difficult. And they don’t only come to those who wait. Have A Look
Nr 4. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?
Nr 5. You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...
Nr 6. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong. How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.
Nr 7. Special free report . It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...
The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!
Nr 8. Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.
Nr 9. When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !
Nr 10. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Nr 11. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!
Nr 12. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!
Nr 13. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.
Nr 14. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.
Nr 15. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.
Nr 16. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)
Nr 17. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.
Nr 18. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?
Nr 19. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"
This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.
Nr 20. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!
Nr 21. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.
Nr 23. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...
Nr 24. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!Use them .... and have fun !