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Social Trends Report: Marriage And Divorce Numbers Fall Yet Again

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The Office for National Statistics has issued its annual  report on households and families.  The report shows:

  • The number of marriages in England and Wales fell for the third consecutive year in 2007, to around 231,500.

  • There were around 128,500 divorces in England and Wales in 2007, a fall of 3% compared with 2006.  This was the fourth fall in succession and is the lowest number of divorces in a single year since 1976.
  • The increasing trend towards smaller household sizes has seen the average household size in Great Britain fall from 3.1 people per household in 1961 to 2.4 people in Q2 2009.

  • The proportion of dependent children in the UK living with married parents fell from almost three-quarters (72%) in Q2 1997 to less than two-thirds (63%) in Q2 2009.

  • Since the 1970s there has been a fall in the proportion of babies born to women aged under 25 in England and Wales, from 47% (369,600 live births) in 1971 to 25% (180,700 live births) in 2008.

  • In 2007 the average age of women in England and Wales at their first childbirth (27.5 years) was below the average age at first marriage (29.8 years), as has been the case since 1992.

The report comments: "Traditionally most people in the UK have shared living arrangements for much of their life.  However, over the past few decades, changes in social legislation, attitudes, and the age profile of the population have led to new structures and characteristics of households and families."

To read the report in full, visit the .

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