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Marriage rate increases, especially amongst over-65s

Marriage statistics for 2014 published by ONS

There were 247,372 marriages between opposite sex couples in 2014, an increase of 2.7% from 2013; but 6.2% lower than in 2012. The figures were revealed in marriage statistics for 2014 (the most recent year for which they are available) published by the Office for National Statistics.

In 2014 the average age for opposite sex couples marrying was 37.0 years for men, while for women it was 34.6 years. This represents a slight increase compared with 2013 (36.7 years for men and 34.3 years for women) and continues the overall rise recorded since the 1970s.

The greatest percentage increase in rates occurred among men and women aged 65 and over (12% and 17% respectively) while the greatest decrease was among men and women aged under 20 (20% and 11% respectively). Marriage rates for opposite sex couples marrying in 2014 increased for both men and women aged 35 and over, compared with 2013. At ages under 35, marriage rates for men and women decreased, with the exception of those aged 25 to 29 where rates increased by less than 1%.

There were 4,850 marriages between same sex couples in 2014. Of these, 44% (2,129) were between male couples and 56% (2,721) were between female couples. Marriages of same sex couples have only been possible since 29 March 2014. Taking this into account, the number of marriages of same sex couples in 2014 is considered to be similar to the number of civil partnerships formed in the year prior to the change in legislation. In 2013, there were 5,646 civil partnerships formed between same sex couples with 47% of these being between male couples and 53% between female couples.

There were 2,411 same sex couples who converted their civil partnership into a marriage between 10 and 31 December 2014.

In 2014, civil ceremonies among opposite sex couples increased by 4.1%, while religious ceremonies decreased by 0.8% compared with 2013.

Same sex couples mostly solemnised their marriages in civil ceremonies, there were only 23 religious ceremonies accounting for 0.5% of all marriages of same sex couples.

In 2014, of all individuals marrying a same sex partner 85% were forming their first legally recognised partnership compared with 76% for opposite sex couples.

Nicola Haines, Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, Office for National Statistics, said:

"The number of marriages of opposite sex couples increased by 2.7% in 2014, but this followed a drop of 8.6% in 2013. Marriage rates for opposite sex couples remain below the levels recorded between 2010 and 2012. Following the introduction of marriages of same sex couples in March 2014, one in 46 marriages that year were between same sex couples. Men and women marrying same sex partners, were on average, around 2 years older than those marrying opposite sex partners."

For the statistics, click here.

14/3/17