Re-marriage in later life is on the rise as over 50s buck the trend of declining marriage rates.
The Telegraph reports that figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2015 marriage rates for opposite-sex couples were the lowest on record.
A total of 239,020 marriages of opposite-sex couples took place in 2015, a 3.4 per cent drop from 2014. But older couples are going against the grain. The number of weddings increased for men aged 50 and over and women aged 35 to 39 years and 45 and over, the ONS said.
“In general, marriage rates among older people have been increasing over recent years and falling at younger ages,” the report said.
“Men and women aged under 20 have recorded the largest percentage decrease in marriage rates since 2005 (56 per cent for men and 66 per cent for women).”
Relationship charity Relate suggested that plummeting rates could be down to the “rising cost of marriage”.
“It’s also possible that many people are now prioritising other things over getting married, such as education, starting a family, buying a house and going travelling. This could also be a reason for the rising average age of marriage,” said chief executive Chris Sherwood.
Harry Benson, research director of the Marriage Foundation, said the decline in teen marriage was “no bad thing”.
“Teens have least experience of the world at large and the stats confirm that those who marry in their teens are by far the most likely to split up,” he said.
“However the similarly abrupt collapse of marriage among those in their early twenties is a far more serious problem. The current acceptability of cohabitation means that too many potentially fragile couples move in together too soon and get stuck and too many strong couples wait in a no-man’s land of unspoken ambiguity and uncertainty.”
Women’s average age at marriage reached 35 for the first time ever. It has been rising since the early 1970s, when it was around 26.
The figures show that divorcees have in particular have embraced the later-life marriage, with the number of divorced men aged over 55 re-marrying reaching 25,000 for the first time ever, while the number of widowers re-marrying has fallen from a recent high of 4,343 in 2003 to 3,430 in 2015.
Abigail Lowther, associate solicitor with Hall Brown Family Law, said: “Men and women have realised that neither advancing years nor the heartbreak of divorce should necessarily be an obstacle to enjoying what’s left of their lives.
“Many will have weathered the last big recession and seen their careers and their wealth rebound. That’s particularly true of men who might be more advanced in careers than their female counterparts.”
Nicola Haines, of the vital statistics outputs branch, Office for National Statistics, said: “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.
“This is the first full year for which marriages were available for same-sex couples and they accounted for 2.6 per cent of all marriages.”
(Story source: The Telegraph)