Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples lowest on record in 2015

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) regularly publishes data on a whole host of subjects. One of their most recent publications is Marriages in England and Wales:2015, which reports on the number of marriages that took place in England and Wales in 2015, analysed by age, sex, previous marital status and civil or religious ceremony.

The report reveals that marriage rates for opposite-sex couples were the lowest on record. A total of 239,020 marriages took place, a decrease of 3.4% from 2014 when there were 247,372 marriages, and 0.8% lower than in 2013.

Key findings also include:

  • 6,493 marriages took place between same-sex couples, 56% between female couples.
  • A further 9,156 same-sex couples converted their civil partnership into a marriage.
  • Civil ceremonies among opposite-sex couples decreased by 1.6%, while religious ceremonies decreased by 8% compared with 2014.
  • An increase in the number of marriages between older couples as increased rates were only recorded for men aged 50 to 54 and 60 to 64 years and for women aged 50 and over.

Many are hailing this research as yet more evidence for the need for legal protection for cohabiting couples who choose not to get married and for pre-nuptial agreements to be formally recognised in law. Whilst the government has no plans to reform the law substantively at this moment in time, campaigners will continue their fight for change and legal reform.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Suffolk Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email