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Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, co-habitation and divorce rate in the last 30 years.

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Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, co-habitation and divorce rate in the last 30 years. There are number of different interlinked reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the last 30 years. The number of marriages has declined as a result of most people are getting married later in life, although cohabitation has increased rapidly due to the changing social attitudes and the divorce rate has increased as changes in law made it easier to obtain. Since the 1970s, there has been a significant decline in marriage, from 480,000 marriages in 1972 to 306,000 in 2000. Women's expectation of marriage and life has increased since 1970s. Some sociologists argue that we place an increased value on romantic love, which had resulted in more marital breakdown. Young and Wilmot suggest that in the west we have a romanticised, unrealistic view of marriage and family life. Over the past 30 years, people have tended to marry later. Living together as a couple, partly accounts for this. ...read more.


The proportion of cohabiting more than trebled from 9% to over 27%. Cohabiting couples tend to be young. Attitudes towards sexual relationships and living arrangements outside marriage have changed. Cohabitation is no longer described with negative phrases such as "living over the brush" or seen as "living in sin" by social groups due to secularisation that is declining influence of religion in people lives and it is more acceptable since the 1990s. Likewise, the church takes less rigid views of divorce and it allows couples to re-marry in the church who had previously divorced. Cohabitation is on increase due to various reasons; some may describe it as it is part of the process of getting married and seen as it is a prelude to marriage. It has been seen as a trail marriage. It provides an opportunity to test the relationships before making it legal binding. However, for some Cohabitation is an alternative to marriage and Cohabitation is absence of legal ties therefore it gives more freedom to end relationship. ...read more.


People who previously separated or endured empty shell marriages are probably more likely to choose divorce. 40% of marriages are likely to end up in divorce or separation. In the 1980s, recession in industry has resulted in increases in divorce rate and lone parents where more women choose to parent alone. A number of sociologists such as New Right Murray(1990's) and Marsland (1990's)argues that family ties and responsibilities have been weakened by welfare state as it has become too generous to the point that a significant but grown minority of families depend upon it for their entire household income. Teenage mum's for example. They conclude that the welfare state has in fact encouraged martial breakdown, lone parenthood and teenage pregnancy. Paradoxically, when the welfare state was created its main aim was to support families, not encourage their breakdown. In conclusion, there are many factors which contribute to changes in patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce such as economic, religious, social attitudes and legal changes. The various explanations are interrelated for example, as the social attitudes changed so did the laws about divorce which led to an increase in separation rates and lone parent families and decline in marriages. ...read more.

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