The Marriage Gap: The rich get married (and stay together). The poor don’t

According to the Office for National Statistics, 53% of births are to married parents. However this total figure conceals a dramatic variation in the prevalence of marriage – the Marriage Gap.

Our new analysis of data from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) reveals that, among mothers with children under five, 87% of those in higher income groups are married compared to just 24% of those in lower income groups. This represents a difference in ‘odds ratios’ of six times.

Further analysis of General Household Survey (GHS) data going back to 1972 shows that a Marriage Gap has opened up across mothers of different ages, those who buy rather than rent, those with a degree or not, those who smoke or not, and those who work or not.

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 Telegraph, 22nd August 2015
By Patrick Sawer: “Wealthy four times more likely to marry than the poor”
The Times, 24th August 2015
By Rosemary Bennett: “Poor couples turning backs on marriage”

The Guardian, 24th August 2015
By Nash Riggins: “Marriage is like a monstrous and costly Disney panto, but it’s worth it”

National Deseret News, 25th August 2015
By Herb Scribner: “Why the rich are more likely to get married than the poor”

Church Times, 28th August 2015
By Madeleine Davies: “‘Liberal elite’ accused of hypocrisy on marriage”

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