Marriage (Family Patterns)

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Trends in Marriage

Declined since 1970-

1972 -480,000

2000- 306,000

Remarriages have increased since 1960-

1961- 57, 000

1971-2- The Divorce Reform Act 1969

2000- 126, 000 (46% of all marriages)

Marrying later since 1970-

Rose by 7 years on average 1971-2005



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Changing Attiudes towards Marriage

Such as:

  • Less pressure to marry
  • Able to choose what kind of relationship they want

Cheal (Post-Modernist)-  

Greater choice over family structure has led to greater family diversity.


Greater risk of instabilty and are more likely to break up.

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Decline in Religous Influence

Such as:

  • Increase of secularisation
  • No longer they feel like they need to marry for religous reasons
  • Freer to choose what relationship they enter to


Majority of first-time marriages are still in a religous context.

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Decline in stigma towards alternitives to marriage

Such as:

  • Cohabitation
  • Singleton
  • Children outside of marriage

British Social Attiudes Survey

70% in 1989

54% in 2000

That people who want kids should get married


Cohabiting couples tend to get married so just the average age of marrying has risen.

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Changes in the Position of Women

Such as:

  • Finanically indpendent from men e.g. career and education prospects have improved
  • Feminist view of marriage being patiarchal can stop women from marrying


Instead of not getting married putting it off to improve thier career standing.

Feminist- Due to improved career options women are now faced with a triple shift- paid work, domestic work and emotion work

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