Changing patterns in marriage

Topics: Marriage, Family, Alimony Pages: 2 (939 words) Published: April 25, 2015
Using information from the items and elsewhere, examine the reasons for changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation and childbearing in the last 40 years (24 marks) According to the Office for National Statistics, the highest number of couples in 1972 was 480,000 and was due to the baby boom generation of the 1950’s reaching marriageable age and the fact that people chose to marry at a younger age compared to pervious generations. However the annual number of marriages in England and Wales then went into decline and reached an all-time low in 2005 when only 244,710 couples got married. This decline in the total number of marriages has been paralleled by a decline in marriage rates. In 1994, the marriage rate was 11.4 but has decline to 10.3 by 2004. The male rate declined from 36.3 in 1994 to 27.8 in 2004 whilst the female rate declined from 30.6 to 24.6. Fears about what marriage statistics reveal are exaggerated for four reasons: People are delaying marriage rather than rejecting it. Most people will marry at some point in their lives, but people are now marrying later in life, probably after a period of cohabitation. Women may delay marriage because they want to develop their careers and enjoy a period of independence. The BSAS indicates that most people, whether single, divorced or cohabiting, still see marriage as a desirable life-goal. People also generally believe that having children is best done in the context of marriage and few people believe that the freedom associate with living alone is better than being married to someone. Two fifths of all marriages are remarriages. Evidently these people are committed to the institution of marriage despite their previous negative experience of it. Despite the decrease in the overall number of people marrying, married couples are still the main types of partnership for men and women in the UK. Wilkinson notes that female attitudes towards marriage and family life have undergone a radical change or...
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