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Marriage rate rose slightly in 2016

Nearly 250,000 marriages in England and Wales

In 2016, there were 249,793 marriages in England and Wales, 1.7 per cent more than in 2015, but 1.0 per cent fewer than in 2014. The figures for 2016 have been published by theOffice for National Statistics.

The number of couples who chose to have a civil marriage increased by 3.6 per cent compared with 2015, while those who chose to have a religious marriage declined by 4.2 per cent. For the first time ever, less than one-quarter (24 per cent) of all marriages in 2016 were religious ceremonies.

97.2 per cent of all marriages were between opposite-sex couples and 2.8 per cent were between same-sex couples. Looking back at the last two decades, there were 36,201 fewer weddings between opposite-sex couples in 2016 than in 1996.

A total of 7,019 marriages were formed between same-sex couples in 2016, rising from 6,493 in 2015 (8.1 per cent) and 4,850 in 2014 (although the figure for 2014 represents part of the year only). Of these, 44 per cent were between male couples and 56 per cent were between female couples, a pattern also seen in 2015 and 2014. In contrast, our statistics on civil partnerships show that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of all civil partnerships formed in 2016 were between men.

Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples in 2016 were lower at all ages compared with 2006, except for men aged 60 years and over and women aged 50 years and over.

Kanak Ghosh of the Office for National Statistics commented:

 "Marriage rates remain at historical lows despite a small increase in the number of people who got married in 2016. Most couples are preferring to do so with a civil ceremony and for the first time ever, less than a quarter of everyone who married had a religious ceremony. Meanwhile, the age at which people are marrying continues to hit new highs as more and more over 50s get married."

For the full statistics, click here.

29/3/19