There are many reason for changes in the patterns of marriage and cohabitation due to many significant social attitude changes such as secularisation, there are also many more that affect marriage and cohabitation but one that has affected the pattern mostly is feminism, this is shown in a survey that shows in the last 40 years the number of marriages has dropped enormously by up to one hundred thousand marriages and is still declining whereas the cohabitation rate has increased dramatically by 50%. These outline one of the many reasons for changing patterns in marriage and cohabitation.
One of the many reasons for the changes in the patterns of marriage and cohabitation is the changing social attitudes, over the last 40 years social attitudes towards marriage and cohabitation have changed dramatically which has had a massive effect on how marriage and cohabitation is looked at by people in today’s society, because of this change in social attitudes marriage isn’t looked at as compulsory as it was 40 years ago as attitudes have changed which has led to the increase in cohabitation and also it becoming acceptable. There has been a recent data collection which shows how marriage has dropped due to the changes in social attitudes; the number of marriages taking place in England and Wales per year has been in decline since the early 70s, decreasing from 404,734 in 1971 to just 232,443 in 2009. There has been a significant trend to where there are more cohabiting couples, the number of opposite sex cohabiting couples has increased, from 1.5 million in 1996 to 2.9 million in 2012. The number of dependent children living in these opposite sex cohabiting couple families also increased, doubling from 0.9 million to 1.8 million in the same period. This shows how social attitudes has effected the changes in the patterns of marriage and cohabitation, this is shown