Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Marriage Unfashionable: British Liberals Worry about Unmarried Women and their Children

Excerpts from this article:

Wives are outnumbered by single and divorced women for the first time
By Sarah Womack
December 19, 2006

There are more single, divorced and widowed women than wives in England and Wales according to the Office for National Statistics.

The figures in the latest edition of Population Trends show that unmarried women became the majority in 2004.

Marriage has become particularly unfashionable for women in their 20s.

In the early 1970s, 85 per cent of women were married before their 30th birthday. Now fewer than one in three women in her late 20s is married.

Marriage projections have great implications for government policy, as well as significant sociological effects. For example, if current trends continue, there will be far fewer hefty divorce settlements in favour of women.

The number of cohabiting couples is projected to rise from two million to 3.8 million in 2031 and they will also be older on average.

Jill Kirby, of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: "The serious decline of marriage is a very worrying development. Cohabitation is an inherently fragile partnership.

"It is not divorce that will have a serious impact on children in the future but parents moving in and out of different relationships in which marriage is not a factor. A lot of women in their forties and fifties will be living alone, perhaps having had a relationship or two but never having been married, with all sorts of emotional and financial implications."

Andrew Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College of the City University of New York, said: "You used to get married to have sex. Now one of the major reasons to get married is to have children, and the attractiveness of having children has declined for many people because of the cost."