Changing Family Patterns- Marriage and Cohabitation

Can be used to anwer questions on 'changing family patterns' questions in AS Sociology.

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 06-01-10 10:09

Marriage Facts

  • Fewer people are marrying. Marriage rates are lowest since the 1920s.
  • However, there are more re-marriages. In 2004 4/10 marriages were re-marriages.
  • There are less people getting married in churches. In 2005, only 34% of marriages were in churches.
  • People are marrying later on in life. The average marrying age has risen by 7 years since 1972.
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Reasons For Changes in Marriage

The changing position of women... Women can now have careers and have enough money to not be dependent on men.

Changing attitudes... People feel less pressure to marry. Not marrying has been 'normalized'. People also feel that their relationship is more important than the legal status of marriage.

Fear of divorce... The rising divorce rates puts people off wanting to marry.

Secularisation... This is the decline in the influence of religion in society. Marriage is a religious ceremony so if people are not religious they think 'why bother?'

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Functionalist view- Marriage is still something that remains popular and most people still see it as a desirable objective in their lives. No one says "I want to be a single parent"- most people desire marriage. Also, there are more re-marriages which proves that people obviously aren't put off my previous negative experiences.

Most people are delaying marriage rather than rejecting it- most people will marry at some point in their lives, just later on, probably after cohabitation.

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Cohabitation Facts

Cohabitation is unmarried couples in a sexual relationship living together.

There are over 2,000,000 cohabiting couples in the UK.

1/4 of couples under 60 are cohabiting

This figure is expected to double by 2021.

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Reasons For Changes In Cohabitation

Pre-marital sex isn't wrong... There has been a changing stigma so people won't get looked down on.

Secularisation... People think 'Why bother getting married'?

Changing position of women... Women are not dependent on men anymore.

88% of young people said that they think it's okay to cohabit without marrying.

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Other Views:

Chester says that cohabitation is just a process of getting married.

Coast says that 75% of cohabiting couples hope to marry and that cohabitation is a trial marriage.

Bejin says that cohabitation is an alternative to marriage.

John says that women who cohabit do less housework that their married counterparts.

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