• It’s Valentines Day. A day to celebrate love. But what are the odds that love will last?
• Based on my analysis of the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, 61% of today’s newlyweds can expect to stay married for life. After 10 years together, their odds of staying together rise to 74%. Couples who have been married for 21 years have a 90% chance of staying married. And almost all of the couples who have celebrated 36 years together will stay together. Their chances of success are 99%.
• Today’s couples face the best prospects of staying married since 1976. However at the prevailing rates back in 1976, 66% of newlyweds would have been predicted to stay together. After 36 years of actual marriage, it turns out that 61% of couples are likely to stay the course. So 1976 couples, like most couples who married in the 1970s and 1980s,
have done slightly worse than expected.
• However couples who married in the 2000s are doing slightly better than expected. Most successful of all are couples who married in 2004. They started married life with a projected survival rate of 53%. At the rate they are going today, 60% will stay married.
When couples split up, families move from one to two households. Poverty is a common outcome that affects children. Six out of ten lone parents are supported by the state compared to one out of ten couple parents. That's where most of the £50bn is spent.