News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Marriage pic onebanner.jpg
Marriage pic one.jpg
World News

Marriage rates will only increase if government improves family allowances says Marriage Foundation

by Donna Birrell

Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples have fallen to their lowest on record, with less than one in five weddings now taking place in a place of worship.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that only 18 percent of opposite sex weddings in 2019 were religious ceremonies - down from 21 percent in 2018 - the lowest since 1862. 

Less than one percent of marriages between same-sex couples were religious ceremonies. 

Research Director at the Marriage Foundation, Harry Benson has been speaking to Premier about the findings: "I'm not surprised by the church figures. In some ways the figures are high if you think about the proportion of the population who actually take their faith seriously. 

"At the church I go to in Somerset we represent maybe one to two percent of our local community. So 18 percent of marriages happening in church is well above what you would expect to be the case if it was simply a faith community. 

"So clearly, a lot of people get married in church who may take their faith slightly less seriously.

"Marriage rates have been in decline for a very long time now and they conceal the real social justice issue, which is that the poor have stopped marrying, while the rich are continuing to marry in their droves. 

"So there's this terrible marriage gap between rich and poor."

In 2019, there were 213,122 marriages between opposite-sex couples, a decrease of 6.5% from 2018 and 6,728 marriages between same-sex couples, a decrease of 2.8% from 2018.

But Harry Benson says it isn't just the cost of a wedding that is causing people to think twice about getting married. 

He tells Premier that because of the tax and benefit systems, people on low incomes can lose money financially by getting married: "There is this perception that you need to spend a fortune, and it's just not true and most people don't. 

"But there are also other barriers to marriage as well, really big barriers. 

"If you're on low income, and your partner moves in with you, your household income bumps up and you suddenly find that you could lose your entire entitlement to Universal Credit. 

"That's the extent to which our policies in the UK make it really hard for low income families to marry. 

"In Hungary for example, marriage rates are up over 80 percent over the last ten years because they've got family policies which make it beneficial to you if you get married. 

"In this country we have policies which utterly penalise you, we have arguably the worst marriage policy in the whole of Europe.

"We ultimately need to reverse this trend away from marriage, because there's no doubt that people who get married are more likely to stay together, the act of commitment helps you to bond as a couple and that's good for you. It's also good for your children and all sorts of children's outcomes benefit from it."   

Dr James Tucker, Head of Health and Life Events Analysis, Office for National Statistics said: "Today's data show a decline in marriage rates for opposite-sex couples while rates for same-sex couples have remained the same.

"The number of opposite-sex marriages has fallen by 50% since 1972. 

"This decline is a likely consequence of increasing numbers of men and women delaying marriage, or couples choosing to live together rather than marry, either as a precursor to marriage or as an alternative. 

"Future analysis will show the impact of the pandemic on marriages rates."

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email