Middle classes shun marriage

New analysis of data from the Family Resources Survey and the General Household Survey shows that the trend away from marriage was largely confined to low income groups prior to the 1990s but is now spreading to families on middle income.

The Marriage Gap – across families of different age, education, employment and housing status – began to emerge for the first time during the 1970s.

But whereas the vast majority – 84% – of middle earning families with young children were still marrying in 1994, only 59% were married in 2012, a fall of 25% over 18 years.

Among mothers with children under five, the proportion of middle earners who are married has fallen faster than any other income group.

The Marriage Gap matters because couples who marry before having a child are more likely to stay together, thus avoiding the increased risks to income and child well-being if they split up.


Here you can download the Research Briefing Paper as a PDF and the Press Release where it is available.

Media Links

The Daily Mail, 23rd August 2015

By Eleanor Harding: “Decline of marriage for the middle class: Only three in five couples now tie the know compared to 84% 20 years ago”

Family Law Week, 23rd August 2015
Marriage rates collapse among middle classes, says Marriage Foundation
The Telegraph, 24th August 2015

By Hanna Furness: “Middle classes ‘turning away from marriage’”

Marie Claire, 24th August 2015
By Sophie Tighe: “Is marriage on the way out?”

Daily Mail, 25th August 2015
By Libby Purves: “When even the middle classes shun marriage, our social cement truly is crumbling”

The Times, 25th August 2015
By Robert Crampton: “Come on men, admit it: marriage makes sense”

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