Marriage rates at lowest levels since 1862

The Office for National Statistics has published its latest stats for the number of marriages in 2019.  They are their lowest levels since 1862, and there was a decrease of 6.4% from 2018. 

In 2019, the average age at marriage for opposite-sex couples was 34.3 years for men and 32.3 years for women. By comparison, in 1999 the average age was 29.4 years for women and  31.6 years for men, and in 1969 the average ages were 23.7 and 21.8 years.

I’m not sure how much one can read into this in terms of the future of marriage, but it seems clear that marriage is becoming less popular. There could be many reasons for this, for example it’s more socially acceptable not to get married now if you live together and/or have children.  

Could it also be that the prospect of getting divorced is deterring people from getting married? It’s claimed that 42% of marriages end in divorce now, and divorcing can be a very painful experience, both emotionally and financially.  

There were 219,850 marriages in total in England and Wales in 2019, a decrease of 6.4% from 2018.

In 2019, there were 213,122 marriages between opposite-sex couples, a decrease of 6.5% from 2018 and 6,728 marriages between same-sex couples, a decrease of 2.8% from 2018.

Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples have fallen to their lowest on record since 1862; in 2019, for men, there were 18.6 marriages per 1,000 unmarried men; for women, there were 17.2 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women.

The average (median) age at marriage for opposite-sex couples in 2019 was 34.3 years for men and 32.3 years for women; for same-sex couples this was higher at 38.1 years for men and 33.8 years for women.