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Downward trend for heterosexual marriage continues despite slight rise in 2014

Date:14 MAR 2017
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Journals Manager + Online Editor
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has today (14 March 2017) released a statistical bulletin, Marriages in England and Wales: 2014, analysing marriage statistics for the year 2014. The data shows an overall downward trend for heterosexual marriages despite a slight rise in 2014.

According to the bulletin, there were 247,372 marriages between opposite sex couples in England and Wales in 2014, a 2.7% increase compared with 2013; this results from a 4.1% rise in civil marriages coupled with a 0.8% decline in religious marriages.

The increase in the number of marriages in 2014 follows an 8.6% decline in 2013. This year's number Consequently, the number of marriages in 2014 remains below the number recorded in 2011 and 2012 (6.2%).

Last year the marriage rates declined for the first time since 2009.

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Other main points in the bulletin include:
  • There were 4,850 marriages between same sex couples in 2014; marriages of same sex couples have only been possible since 29 March 2014.
  • In 2014, civil ceremonies among opposite sex couples increased by 4.1%, while religious ceremonies decreased by 0.8% compared with 2013.
  • Same sex couples mostly solemnised their marriages in civil ceremonies, there were only 23 religious ceremonies accounting for 0.5% of all marriages of same sex couples.
  • In 2014, of all individuals marrying a same sex partner 85% were forming their first legally recognised partnership compared with 76% for opposite sex couples.
  • There were 2,411 same sex couples who converted their civil partnership into a marriage between 10 and 31 December 2014.
Nicola Haines, from Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, commented:

'The number of marriages of opposite sex couples increased by 2.7% in 2014, but this followed a drop of 8.6% in 2013. Marriage rates for opposite sex couples remain below the levels recorded between 2010 and 2012. Following the introduction of marriages of same sex couples in March 2014, 1 in 46 marriages that year were between same sex couples. Men and women marrying same sex partners, were on average, around 2 years older than those marrying opposite sex partners.'

The full ONS statistical bulletin, Marriages in England and Wales: 2014 is available to download here.