Marriage research: Births outside marriage above 50% for first time




Throughout Marriage Week 7th-14th February 2023, Harry Benson, Sorted columnist and Research Director at the Marriage Foundation, shares a series of daily articles about the latest academic research.

Harry writes: Births outside of marriage have been hovering just below 50 per cent for the past decade. A sharp increase above 50 per cent in 2021 is almost certainly a knock-on effect of the ban and restrictions on marriage during lockdown in the previous year.

New births data for 2021 from the Office for National Statistics have shown a sharp fall in births within marriage to below 50% for the first time. But have a deeper look and you can see that the share of births within marriage has fallen between 5% and 8% across all socio-economic groups. This is a phenomenon that has affected everyone.

In typical years, as many as one in six marriages take place either just before or just after their baby is born. Many of these couples will have been forced to delay their wedding. Although the overall trend remains down, we should expect to see some sort of rebound in births within marriage in 2022.
Read my full comment here.

Photo: Negative Space

Harry Benson

Harry Benson is research director for The Marriage Foundation and author of Commit or Quit: The Two Year Rule and Other Rules for Romance

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