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Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation over the past 40 years

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"Examine the reasons for changes in the patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation over the past 40 years." The patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation over the past 40 years has varied quite significantly. In 1972, the highest ever number of couples (480,000) since the Second World War got married. Now, obviously there is a reason for this. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), this was due to the baby boom generation of the 1950s reaching marriageable age and these people choosing to marry at a younger age compared with previous generations. However, after this period, the number of marriages in England and Wales then went into decline. Most recently, marriages reached an all-time low in 2005 when only 244,710 couples got married. Some people would say that it reached so low because people are rejecting marriage and are no longer bothered about it. But in fact, statistics reveal that many people are actually delaying marriage. It is said that most people will marry at some point in their lives, but people are deciding to marry later in life, most likely after a period of cohabitation. ...read more.


To go into more detail of the trend of increased divorces, in 1993, the number of divorces peaked at 180,000. By 2000, this figure had fallen to 154,000, although the years 2001 - 2004 have seen a gradual rise to 167,100. There are now nearly half as many divorces as marriages and, if present trends continue, about 40% of current marriages will end in divorce. An acceptable reason for this increasing trend of divorce is that it is no longer associated with stigma and shame. Britain's culture is based upon Christian religion, and Christians believe that marriage is for life ('till death do us part'). However, over years, changes in attitudes and secularisation have emerged, and the view that divorce can lead to greater happiness for the individual is more acceptable. A third reason which could explain the increasing divorce rates is down to women wanting to improve educational and career opportunities. In 1870, the Education Act passed by Gladstone's government meant that every child between the ages of five and fifteen had the opportunity for elementary education. Not only did this produce a large literate generation of people, but it also improved the girls reading and writing ability, which previously was much lower than boys. ...read more.


Another reason for the said trend is that there are a significant number of people who live together whilst waiting for a divorce. For example, in 2005, 23% of cohabiting men were separated from a pervious partner whilst 36% were divorced. So although a person may be married, they may have separated and moved into another house to live with a person they have met. They will then be counted as a cohabitee. A third reason for the increased rate of cohabitation could be because people are put off the cost of marriage. According to Wedding Guide UK, the average cost of a traditional wedding in the UK is around �11,000. In addition to the price, some people are also put off because of the religious ceremony of marriage. This is because overtime we have become a more secular society. Both of these factors to some people will refrain them from marrying, because in their eyes they see it as long as they are with each other in a happy and loving relationship, they don't need a ring or a piece of paper with their names on it. ?? ?? ?? ?? AS Sociology F&H 17th November 2009 Marriage, Divorce and Cohabitation Essay Chris Cartwright ...read more.

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