Women in their 70s are more likely to have a husband today than a decade ago due to increase in life expectancy for men – but fewer UK adults are tying knot with only half currently married
- Just 50 per cent of adults over the age of 16 in England and Wales are married
- That number is ‘steadily declining’ across all age groups except for the over-70s
- Decline particularly marked in people aged 50-69, with decrease of 5.5 per cent
Women in their 70s are more likely to have a husband today than a decade ago because of an increased life expectancy in men.
However, just 50 per cent of adults over the age of 16 in England and Wales were married or in a civil partnership in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics.
And that number is ‘steadily declining’ across all age groups except for the over-70s.
In England, 23,015,915 people were married or in a civil partnership in England last year – 50.6 per cent of the population of marrying age.
Women in their 70s are more likely to have a husband today than a decade ago because of an increased life expectancy in men (stock picture)
And that number dropped in Wales where just 1,257,042 people were married – 48.6 per cent.
Overall, the proportion of men who are married has fallen by 1.9 per cent compared with a decade earlier, while for women a fall of 1.4 per cent has been seen.
This decline is particularly marked in people aged 50 to 69, with a decrease of 5.5 per cent compared with a decade earlier.
In contrast, the proportion of the population who are married or in a civil partnership has increased for those aged 70 years and over to 54.8 per cent, 3.8 per cent higher than a decade earlier.
Nine in 10 adults aged 16-29 were single in 2019 – a proportion the ONS said has been increasing ‘as people choose to postpone entering a legal partnership’.
At the same time, the overall proportion of adults who are single, have never married or been in a civil partnership is rising.
This decline is particularly marked in people aged 50 to 69, with a decrease of 5.5 per cent compared with a decade earlier. Pictured: Office for National Statistics graph
More than a third of adults 16 and over (15,925,027) were estimated to be single in 2019, while 8.2 per cent had divorced or dissolved their civil partnership and 6.5 per cent had survived the death of a former legal partner.
A higher proportion of men were single (38.3 per cent) compared with women (31.8 per cent), the ONS said.
Amanda Sharfman, from the ONS’s Centre for Ageing and Demography, said: ‘We see slow changes in the composition of the population aged 16 years and over by marital status over time.
‘Married remained the most common marital status, accounting for just over half of the population in 2019, but this proportion is steadily declining except among those aged 70 years and over.
‘In particular, females in their 70s were more likely to be married than a decade earlier. They were also more likely to be divorced, and less likely to be widowed.
‘This reflects improvements in life expectancy over time, as well as an increase in marriages and divorces in later life.’
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