The number of Britons tying the knot has collapsed to a record low. Lowest in the last 150 years that records were kept. See the report in This is London, BBC and Charles Colson’s commentary Breakpoint.
In 2006, there were approximately 237,000 weddings in Britain. Two-thirds of all weddings in 2006 were civil ceremonies. The marriage rate for British men is 22.8 per 1,000 and for women 20.5 per 1,000. In the last twenty years cohabitation has doubled. Propotion of people living alone has double since 1971, now accounting for 12%. Divorces peaked in 1993 at 180,000 before falling to 155,000 in 2005. First-time mothers are becoming older – aged 30 on average in 2006 compared with 24 in 1971. One in four single women under retirement age is thought to be living unmarried with a partner.
A clear sign of breakdown of families in Western Europe. This trends also spell disaster for children, families and society at large. Unstable family structures results in anti-social behaviors, crime, promiscuity, state welfare etc. Stable families are the best formula for bringing up children and preventing delinquency. Somehow our politicians do not see that far or do not care what happens beyond their times and give in pleasing people by buying into certain ideologies to keep themselves in power!
There is an economic angle to it as much as a cultural and moral dimension. Advantages for married couples have gradually been withdrawn, joint taxation-ended in the 1980s and the last tax break for couples, the Married Couples Allowance, was withdrawn in1997. Benefits such as tax credits now favour individuals living with children rather than couples and the bias against couples is thought to have contributed to the growing numbers “living apart together”.
Stronger the marriage, stronger the society and stronger the nation. When the most basic bond in a society becomes fragile and shows signs of weakness, demise of a nation is inevitable.