MARRIAGE REMAINS POPULAR AND SUCCESSFUL.
Around 250,000 marriages take place each year. 51% of people over 16 are married (office of national statistics (2014)
Married couples are 3 times more likely to stay together than co-habiting couples (office of national statistics (2014)
The average age for couples getting married is around 36 years (37 for men and 35 for women (office of national statistics (2014)
The divorce rate is reducing. On current predictions couples marrying today face a 38% chance of divorce compared to 45% in 1990 (Marriage Foundation 2016)
MARRIED PEOPLE ARE FAR MORE LIKELY TO STAY TOGETHER THAN UNMARRIED PEOPLE
Married couples are far more likely to still be together when their children reach the age of 15. 93% of all parents who stay together until their children are 15 are married.
Couple who marry before they have children are much more likely to stay together – only 25% of couples split up who are married before they have children ,. compared to 50% for those who married later and 75% of those who never married.
Cohabiting couples are 4 times more likely to split up than married couples.
Cohabiting couples account for 21% of couples but represent 52% of annual family breakdown
All the above statistics are from the marriage foundation 2016.
CHILDREN FROM BROKEN HOMES FACE GREATER RISKS IN ALL MAJOR AREAS OF LIFE
They are more likely to experience hardships – whether low income, unemployment, poverty, or homelessness.
They are more likely to experience problems – whether to well-being, health or crime. Family breakdown is the single biggest influence on mental health problems (marriage foundation 2016)
They are more likely to be unsuccessful – whether at school, at work or in relationships. Teenagers with married parents have the highest self esteem (British household Panel survey 2016)
They are more likely to avoid marriage and more likely to divorce if they do marry (O’Neill, 2002)
60,000 children are in care, 98% of admissions are due to family breakdown (Department of Health, 2002, ref 2002/0193)
MARRIED PEOPLE AND THEIR CHILDREN ARE HAPPIER AND HAVE BETTER MENTAL HEALTH
Married people are twice as likely to be “happy” with life and less than half as likely to be “not too happy” compared to either single, cohabiting, separated, divorced or widowed people (Waite & Gallagher, 2000)
Mental health improves consistently and substantially after marriage and deteriorates substantially after divorce or separation. These are effects of marriage and divorce and not because healthy people marry and unhealthy people divorce (Marks & Lambert, 1998, Horwitz et al, 1996)
Children in single parent households are twice as likely to be unhappy, have low self-esteem, or have mental health problems, even after taking demographic factors into account (Cockett & Tripp, 1994; Melzer & al, 2000)
MARRIED PEOPLE AND THEIR CHILDREN HAVE LOWER MORTALITY RATES AND BETTER PHYSICAL HEALTH.
In the UK, divorced men aged 20-60 have 70%-100% higher mortality rates. Divorced women over the age of 25 have 35%-58% higher mortality rates (ONS, 2001 -Mortality). Mortality rates amongst cohabitees is no different that that of singles (Lillard & Waite, 1995)
Unmarried men & women occupy an astonishing 90% of all beds in hospital & care homes – up from an average of 70% during 1921-1971. That’s 7 & 16 times respectively more than married men & women (Prior & Hayes, 2003).
Divorced fathers are far more likely to engage in risky behaviour, including drugs, alcohol and unsafe sex (Umberson, 1987; Wellings & al, 1994)
Divorce makes young men & women twice as likely to increase their drinking (Power & al, 1999)
Children in single parent households are twice as likely to complain of aches, pains and sickness, even after taking demographic factors into account (Cockett & Tripp, 1994)
“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” is 3 times more common amongst unmarried mothers and 7 times more common amongst single mothers, compared to married mothers (ONS, 2002 – Mortality)
MARRIED PEOPLE ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE, EARN MORE AND SAVE MORE
Married men earn a “wage premium” that rises from 10% to 40% over time in almost all developed countries. This gain equates to a university degree (Schoeni, 1995)
Cohabiting couples achieve only half this wage premium and it does not rise over time. (Daniel, 1995; Hao, 1996).
A US study found that married people in their 50s and 60s had roughly twice the financial assets of divorcees, widows or other unmarried people. This was due more to higher savings rates than higher earnings (Smith, 1995).
MARRIED PEOPLE AND THEIR CHILDREN ARE FAR LESS LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE POVERTY
Richer people are much more likely to marry – for UK parents with children under 5: 87% of those in the top income bracket (over £43K) were married compared to 24% of those in the bottom bracket (under £14K) (Benson and MacKay 2015)
Only 25% of mothers in social housing are married compared to 72% of mothers with a mortgage (Marriage Foundation 2006)
69% of UK single mothers live in the bottom 40% of household income, compared to 34% of couples with children (DWP, 2002)
Single mothers, whether well-educated or not, are 3-4 times more likely to live in poverty than married mothers (McLanahan & Sandefur, 1994).
UK single parents are 8 times as likely to be out of work and 12 times as likely to receive income support (ONS , 2001 – Work; ONS, 2002 – Family)
Family breakdown costs the nation £15 billion a year (The Cost of Family Breakdown, FMI report 2000)
MARRIED PEOPLE ARE FAR SAFER TO BE AROUND IN TERMS OF CRIME, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD ABUSE
A major UK study found that parental divorce before age 10 was a major predictor of later adolescent delinquency and adult criminality (Farrington, 1990)
Children from broken homes are 9 times more likely to become young offenders, accounting for 70% of all young offenders (YJB, 2002)
Child abuse is far more likely without both married biological parents – 6 times in stepfamilies, 33 times when the mother has a live-in boyfriend, and 20 times even when both biological parents cohabit (Whelan, 1994)
A major Home Office study found that unmarried men & women – single, cohabiting, separated or divorced – were more than twice as likely to experience domestic violence compared to married people (Mirrlees-Black, 1999)