September 29, 2005


In 25 years: most middle-aged Brits won't be married

A story published today by the BBC News reports that by 2031, the proportion of unmarried men will rise to 46% compared with 35% in 2003, the Office for National Statistics said.

The proportion of unmarried women is predicted to go up from 28% to 39%.

As a result the number of unmarried cohabiting couples will jump from 2 million in 2003 to 3.8 million in 2031.

Never marrying

More people will choose never to marry, the Population Trends report said.

The proportion of men aged 45 to 54 who have never married is predicted to rise from 14% in 2003 to 40% by 2031, with women in the same situation increasing from 9% to 35%.

The proportion of married men in this age group will drop from 71% in 2003 down to 48% by 2031, with married women dropping from 72% to 50% over the same period.

By 2031 a predicted 41% of men living with a partner will be aged over 45 - up from 21% in 2003, the Population Trends report said.

The proportion of women aged over 45 who are cohabiting is set to increase from 18% in 2003 to 36% by 2031.

Divorces up and down

As a consequence of there being fewer married people aged 35 to 44 by 2031, the divorce rates among them are expected to drop.

However, the report predicts that divorce rates will rise most sharply among pensioners.

The proportion of divorced men and women aged 65 and over is expected to more than double by 2031, the ONS said.

The number of divorces in England and Wales dropped by 0.1% last year compared with 2003.

The divorce rate remained the same, at 14 divorcing people per 1,000 of the married population. Of divorces in 2004, more than 69% were granted to the wife, with the husband's behaviour the "fact proven" in 52% of these cases.

The most common fact proven among divorces granted to the husband was two years' separation with consent at 31%, followed by wife's behaviour at 30% and adultery at 25%.