Jul 28, 2020

Marriage has hit a new low in England and Wales. Official statistics released this month show that barely half of the adult population, 50.2 per cent, was married in 2019, down from 51.8 per cent in 2009.

Strikingly, less than 9.5 per cent of adults under 30 were married in 2019, reflecting a growing trend of leaving off marriage until later on or never marrying.

In our view, the decline in marrying is one reason why the number of one-person households in England is projected to swell by more than 10 per cent over the next decade while the number of family households barely increases.

Sky-high divorce rates also drive this trend towards living alone, as does the increase in the number of women having no children.

Some celebrate the decline of marriage, which they regard as an outdated and oppressive institution. But the truth is the decline in marriage leaves people lonelier and less happy. As Jenni Russell has observed in The Times(£):

“Working-age people living alone are more likely to be anxious, less happy, less healthy and more lonely than their peers in partnerships. They are less likely to own their own home and are less financially secure. A third don’t have enough money to last a month without income, compared with one in six couples. Last year an ONS survey of single-living adults under 65 found they were less satisfied with their lives, which they felt were less worthwhile than the average person’s.”