Marriage – a hobby for the rich

May 23, 2022 by

by Ann Farmer, TCW:

MARRIAGES have plunged to a new low according to the latest figures. In 2019 a total of 213,122 heterosexual couples wed, down 50 per cent from a 1972 peak and the lowest since 1888. While 18.6 per 1,000 men got married, only 17.2 per 1,000 women did so, the lowest figures since records began in 1862.

At the same time the average age for marriage rose to a record high at 34.3 years for men and 32.3 for women.

This is bad news for society, since couples tend to marry in preparation for having a family, so it may also mean an even more disastrous downward spiral in the birth rate and an even more uncertain future for all of us. Already women are waiting longer to have children, and more and more are having abortions.

As the Marriage Foundation revealed earlier this month, ‘marriage remains the best way to find “reliable love”’; according to their latest report, cohabiting parents were nearly three and a half times more likely to split up in any given year compared with married parents, moreover, this stability gap is present regardless of income. 

Its research ‘confirmed that the poorest married couples with children are more stable and likely to stick together than the richest unmarried couples with children’. Foundation director Harry Benson said that marriage ‘stacks the odds massively in your favour’ simply ‘because the act of marriage necessarily involves a decision, a clear plan and public affirmation of you as a couple’, and ‘the majority of marriages last a lifetime because the psychology of marriage goes with the grain of how commitment works’.

The Foundation found that, overwhelmingly, young adults still wish to marry, seeing marriage ‘as the gold standard of relationships’, although there is a massive gap between aspiration and achievement, especially among lower-income couples, for while a third of these actually get married, more than three-quarters of those in higher managerial jobs do so. Benson says: ‘The rich and powerful who know the benefits of marrying are still doing it – almost universally.’

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