Six out of 10 people aged 18-34 say they want to get married, with just 13 percent saying they do not. The YouGov research found that of 3,888 peop
Six out of 10 people aged 18-34 say they want to get married, with just 13 percent saying they do not. The YouGov research found that of 3,888 people polled who are single or in a relationship but not married, four out of 10 wanted to wed while just 28 percent wanted to remain unmarried.
The desire of so many respondents to walk down the aisle contrasts with a sharp decline in marriage rates.
The most recent analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that marriage rates for opposite-sex couples in England and Wales in 2019 fell to their lowest on record since 1862, and have halved since 1972.
The Law Commission will shortly put forward proposals to modernise marriage laws, and the Government has legalised outdoor civil weddings and partnerships.
YouGov’s polling found 38 percent of unwed men want to marry while 27 percent do not; 42 percent of unwed women who want to tie the knot but 29 percent do not.
Of the Britons who do not want to get married, the top reason was that they did not see the point (48 percent), while 34 did not think marriage was “right” for them or said that it was “no longer relevant”.
Twenty-three percent of this group said they did not think they would find the right person to marry, one in five did not like the “religious element associated with marriage” and 14 percent “did not want to risk getting a divorce”.
The pollsters found appetite for marriage declined with age.
While 35 percent of unmarried people aged 35-44 wanted to marry, this was true for just 20 percent of those in the 45-54 age bracket, and only 11 percent of those aged 55-plus.
According to the ONS, in 2019 there were 18.6 marriages per 1,000 unmarried men and 17.2 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women.
The average age at marriage for opposite-sex couples that was 34.3 for men and 32.3 for women; for same-sex couples the average age was 38.1 for men and 33.8 for women.
In 2019, just 18.7 percent of marriages featured a religious ceremony, the lowest on record.
Reforms are expected which would give extend the new freedoms to conduct civil weddings outdoors to religious ones.
Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation said: “Contrary to the image of the Great British public falling out of love with marriage, this poll confirms, yet again, that it is still seen as the gold standard of relationships.”
However, he was concerned that 56 percent of those aged 18 to 34 who do not wish to get married considered the institution outdated.
He said: “This represents a massive failure of public policy, driven by a liberal elite, who while all being married themselves, repeatedly claim that marriage doesn’t matter. This is why marriage rates among the richest couples have changed little over the last 30 years…
“We must reverse this dangerous trend and ensure the huge benefits of getting married are available to all, regardless of wealth or class and we want Government policies that support marriage and the aspiration to wed.”