Statistics have just been released for 2016, the last year that full details are available. Surprisingly it shows an increase in the number of people marrying.
However on further examination, the long term trend is not changing when you consider the population increasing over the relevant period. In 2016 249,793 married which was 1.7% more than in 2015, but 1 % less than in 2014. The highest number was in 1941 in the middle of the last war and since then, whilst there have been variations, the general trend has been on the decline.
Another interesting fact is that the average age at which people marry continues to rise. For all men it is 37.9 and 35.5 for women. More interestingly the average age for someone when marrying for the first time is 35.1 years for women and 33.4 years for men.
In terms of other trivia on the subject, for the first time ever less than 25% of marriages celebrated were religious ceremonies. The most popular day on which to marry is a Saturday and the most popular date is 30th July. By comparison the least popular date is Christmas day, when only two people were hitched.
Interestingly marriage rates, namely the number of marriages per thousand people, were down in all age groups except men over 59 and women over 49. In those groups the marriage rates were on the increase again, repeating a trend of recent years.
Then if you want to confuse matters you can look at some recent surveys on living together. It is concerning that 46% of people still believe that a cohabiting couple form a common law marriage that has rights attached to it. This figure increases to 55% of households where there are children. This is plain wrong! The reality is that such couples are treated very differently and anybody living together need to get clear advice about their situation. There are certain rights, particularly in respect of children but they are not the same.
We can conclude that marriage continues to be a relevant part of British life, however misunderstand and it is not as common as it used to be.