Relative Strangers: The importance of social capital for marriage

In our latest paper – covered by the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday – we analyse data from the survey we commissioned from Savanta ComRes of 2,000 ever married adults aged 30-80.

  • Meeting online is now the most popular route to marriage, representing 28% of first weddings since 2017 in our survey
  • However it comes at a cost. Couples who meet online are statistically more likely to divorce in the first three years of marriage than couples who met socially or through family and friends.
  • These risks disappear after three years of marriage.
  • To us they suggest the importance of social capital, the cumulative collection of knowledge, wisdom, love and security built up by friends and family. If you meet online, you have fewer sources of reliable long-term information about the person you marry.
  • It shouldn’t put people off meeting online. Marriages still tend to do better than those cohabiting but not married. But the extra risk is ideal territory for marriage preparation courses whose benefits are most apparent in those early years.

Our survey is weighted to be representative of the UK population and our analysis takes into account age, gender and occupation.

 

Downloads

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

Media Links

Sunday Times – Dating app love likelier to end in divorce

Mail on Sunday – Married couples who meet online are SIX times more likely to divorce in the first three years than those who meet through family or friends, study finds

Evening Standard – Couples who meet on dating apps are more likely to get divorced, study

Today USA Couples who meet on dating apps are more likely to divorce in early marriage, study finds

Huffington Post – Sad But True, Couples Who Meet Online Are More Likely To Divorce

GB News – Lets Talk Divorce

Newstalk Ireland – New research suggests that couples who meet online are six times more likely to divorce within three years than those who meet in traditional settings

Vogue – Why Should Meeting On An App Spell Divorce?

New York Post – Couples who met on dating apps headed for early divorce, study finds

Metro – couple who meet online ‘are six times more likely to get divorced’

Daily Mirror – Couples who meet online are six times more likely to divorce, stats reveal

Family breakdown costs £50bn a year

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UK Among highest family breakdown in Europe

Five years ago, the UK had the highest rate of family breakdown in Europe. We’re not doing as badly today, but only because of big falls in divorce rates. Alas there’s no sign of a similar improvement among cohabitees

Lower Divorce Rates – Higher Lone Parents

Divorce rates have plummeted over the past 3 decades, but the number of lone parents has doubled in the same period. Why?… Because unmarried parents make up only one in five cohabiting parents but are responsible for one half of all family breakdown.

Stability is found in Marriage

Whereas stability is the norm if parents are married (75% stay together), it is the exception if they are not (30% stay together). As a result, among parents of teens who are still together as a couple, nine out of ten are married

Single Most Important Factor

The single most important factor in a child’s healthy development is the stable relationship of the parents. Our groundbreaking research shows that family breakdown is the #1 predictor of teenage mental health problems.

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