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Statistics Reveal Fall in Marriage Numbers

The Office for National Statistics has published its Marriages in England and Wales: 2015 bulletin, which gives details on the number of marriages that took place in England and Wales analysed by age, sex, previous marital status and civil or religious ceremony.

Key statistics revealed in the report include:

  • There were 239,020 marriages between opposite-sex couples in 2015, a decrease of 3.4% from 2014 when there 247,372 marriages, and 0.8% lower than in 2013.
  • Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples in 2015 were the lowest on record, with 21.7 marriages per thousand unmarried men and 19.8 marriages per thousand unmarried women.
  • Compared with 2005, marriage rates for opposite-sex couples marrying in 2015 were lower at all ages, except for men aged 65 and over and women aged 55 and over, where marriage rates increased.
  • In 2015 there were 6,493 marriages between same-sex couples, 56% were between female couples; a further 9,156 same-sex couples converted their civil partnership into a marriage.
  • In 2015, civil ceremonies among opposite-sex couples decreased by 1.6%, while religious ceremonies decreased by 8.0% compared with 2014.
  • In 2015, of all individuals marrying a same-sex partner, 85% were forming their first legally recognised partnership compared with 76% for opposite-sex couples.

“Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples are now at their lowest level on record following a gradual long-term decline since the early 1970s,” commented an ONS spokesperson. “The number of marriages between opposite-sex couples decreased by 3.4% in 2015, compared with 2014.”

“Despite this overall decline, marriages at older ages rose; the number of weddings increased for men aged 50 and over and women aged 35 to 39 years and 45 and over,” she said. “This is the first full year for which marriages were available for same-sex couples and they accounted for 2.6% of all marriages.”

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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