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Marriage, divorce and cohabitation statistics

Posted by on in Divorce
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A recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics has presented provisional annual statistics on marriages that took place in England and Wales during 2010.

Key findings of the bulletin include:

  • The provisional number of marriages in England and Wales in 2010 increased by 3.7% to 241,100.
  • The highest number of marriages were for men and women aged 25 to 29.
  • The largest percentage increase in numbers from 2009 to 2010 were for men aged 45 to 49 and women aged 30 to 34, both rising by 6%.


Over the past 20 years, there has been a rise in the number of cohabiting adults in England and Wales. The number of opposite sex cohabiting couple families increased significantly between 2001 and 2011, from 2.1 million to 2.9 million (Families and Households, 2011). Attitudes towards cohabitation have also changed. The 2006 British Social Attitudes survey found two thirds of respondents thought there was ‘little difference socially between being married and living together as a couple’ (Beaujouan and Bhrolcháin, 2011).

The Divorces in England and Wales, 2010 release showed that the percentage of marriages ending in divorce has generally increased for those marrying between the 1970s and the early 1990s. For example, 22% of marriages in 1970 had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary, whereas 33% of marriages in 1995 had ended after the same period of time. However, there is some evidence that the proportion of marriages ending in divorce had levelled off for couples married in the most recent years.

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