New marriage statistics from the ONS
The latest marriage statistics have recently been published by the Office for National Statistics. These contain details of the number of marriages that took place in England and Wales analysed by age, sex, previous marital status and civil or religious ceremony and focus on what happened in 2018.
The findings show:
- Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples in 2018 were the lowest on record, with 20.1 marriages per 1,000 unmarried men and 18.6 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women.
- There were 234,795 marriages in England and Wales in 2018. This is a decrease of 3.3% compared with 2017 and the lowest figure recorded since 2009.
- In 2018, there were 6,925 marriages between same-sex couples, with 57.2% between female couples; a further 803 same-sex couples converted their civil partnership into a marriage.
- Around one fifth (21.1%) of opposite-sex marriages in 2018 were religious ceremonies, the lowest on record. However, in contrast religious ceremonies accounted for only 0.9% of same-sex marriages.
- In 2018, the average age at marriage for opposite-sex couples was 38.1 years for men and 35.8 years for women. For same-sex couples the average ages at marriage were 40.4 years for men and 36.9 years for women.
There has been a steady decline in the number of people getting married each year, and the global pandemic will have certainly played a contributing factor to this. How much of a factor remains to be seen.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Suffolk.