Divorce rates plummet to 1975 levels, finds Marriage Foundation

New Marriage Foundation analysis of the latest ONS divorce statistics for England and Wales show the divorce rate has fallen back to pre-1975 levels.

New Marriage Foundation analysis of the latest ONS divorce statistics for England and Wales show the divorce rate has fallen back to pre-1975 levels.

The finding flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that divorce rates have escalated year-on-year.

In fact, the divorce rate, which measures how many of those who marry ultimately divorce, has dropped almost by half (49 per cent) for the early years of marriage since its peak in 1993.

Harry Benson, Research Director of Marriage Foundation, commented: “Today’s newlyweds are setting a shining example to their peers. Divorce rates in the early years of marriage have halved from their peak in the 1990s. And those who do get married are far more likely to stay together than those who don’t.

“The reason is simple. Getting married shows that both partners have bought into the same plan for a life shared together. In a stroke, this removes any lingering doubt or ambiguity about the nature of their relationship.

“If we want a nation of parents who provide reliability and stability to our children, today’s figures show once again that we need a lot more marriage and a lot less cohabitation.”

Sir Paul Coleridge, Chairman and founder of Marriage Foundation, commented: “It really is heartening news during the season of family goodwill that the number of intact families is not declining despite the generally held myth that divorce is simply set to get worse and worse.

“In fact there have been two bits of good “marriage” news in the last week. Today’s news that newlyweds are doing better than any time since 1975 and last week’s news that there has been barely any increase in cohabitation among new parents.

“Just perhaps people are at last beginning to understand that making a formal and public commitment to one another before having a child is about the best insurance policy against future family breakdown that it is possible to obtain.”



Notes to editors:


For media inquiries please contact Beatrice Timpson on 07803 726977.

For interviews, please contact Harry Benson on 07515 699187.

Marriage Foundation was founded by Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court Judge, moved by his personal experience in 40 years as a barrister and judge specialising in family law. The Foundation seeks to improve public understanding of marriage reduce the numbers of people drawn into the family justice system – some 500,000 children and adults each year.

Marriage Foundation has highlighted the crisis of family breakdown. Their research has found that a child born today only has a 50 per cent chance of living with both parents by the time they reach fifteen.

Foundation research has also found that 93 percent of parents who stay together until their child’s fifteenth birthday are married.

A source of statistics on marriage, cohabitation, commitment, divorce and family breakdown can be found on the Marriage Foundation website.


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