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Latest figures for marriages show a rise of nearly 4 per cent

Increase may be explained by reduction in numbers marrying abroad

Provisional statistics released by the Office for National Statistics show that in 2010 (the latest year for which figures are available) the number of marriages in England and Wales increased by 3.7 per cent from the previous year to 241,100. Whilst this might indicate a revival in marriage, the figures for 2009 were the lowest since 1895.

In 2010 the provisional marriage rate increased to 8.7 people marrying per thousand unmarried population aged 16 and over, up from 8.5 in 2009.
The statistical bulletin states that the increase in the numbers of marriages between 2009 and 2010 could be due to a reduction in the number of residents of England and Wales marrying abroad. Population Estimates by Marital Status indicate that there has been a 8 per cent decrease in the estimated number of marriages abroad, from an estimated 80,200 marriages in the year to mid-2009 to 74,000 in mid-2010.

Marriages which would otherwise occur abroad may have taken place in England and Wales instead.

The bulletin says that it is not possible to determine at this stage whether the small rise in the provisional number of marriages in 2010 signifies an end to the long term decline of marriages or whether such increases will continue.

The number of civil partnerships formed in England and Wales also saw a slight rise in 2010, increasing to 5,804 compared with 5,687 in 2009. This represents a very small increase of 2 per cent between 2009 and 2010.

Divorces in England and Wales, 2010 (released in December 2011) showed that the percentage of marriages ending in divorce has generally increased for those marrying between the 1970s and the early 1990s. For example, 22 per cent of marriages in 1970 had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary, whereas 33 per cent of marriages in 1995 had ended after the same period of time. However, there is some evidence that the proportion of marriages ending in divorce had levelled off for couples married in the most recent years.