More people getting married in Northumberland despite national drop in numbers

More opposite sex couples are choosing to get married in Northumberland despite heterosexual marriages hitting a record low across England and Wales, figures reveal.

By Federica Bedendo
Friday, 20th August 2021, 11:48 am
More weddings are taking place in Northumberland, latest figures reveal.
More weddings are taking place in Northumberland, latest figures reveal.

Office for National Statistics data shows 2,327 opposite sex couples tied the knot in the area in 2018 – the latest available data.

That was 84 more than the year before.

But across England and Wales, 227,870 heterosexual marriages were recorded in 2018 – the smallest number since the 226,449 recorded in 1894.

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It equated to 20.1 marriages per 1,000 unmarried men and 18.6 per 1,000 unmarried women – the lowest rates since 1862.

But a new record is expected to be set when figures for marriage registrations are published for 2020, when weddings were prevented from going ahead during the strictest period of coronavirus restrictions.

The ONS said the long-term decline in marriage rates recorded in 2018 was likely to be as a result of more men and women delaying marriage or couples choosing to cohabit instead.

Kanak Ghosh, of the ONS’s vital statistics outputs branch, said: “Despite this overall decline, more people are choosing to get married at older ages, particularly those aged 65 and over.

“This is the fifth year since same-sex marriages have been possible and around one in 35 marriages are now among same-sex couples.”

In 2018, 43 same-sex marriages were also celebrated in Northumberland – 12 marriages of male couples and 31 of female couples.

Alice Rogers, a senior associate with Hall Brown Family Law, said that the national decrease in heterosexual marriages underlined a shift in the attitudes of couples.

She added: “The increase in cohabitation makes clear that men and women are still establishing settled relationships but don’t feel the need for the formality and expense associated with marriage.

“Couples now place a greater premium on investing the kind of sums which they might once have spent on their wedding day in putting down a deposit on a home instead.”

But Harry Benson, research director at charity the Marriage Foundation, said the decline needed to be considered in context.

He said: “The divorce rate is at its lowest level in 30 years, suggesting those who get married are much more likely to stick together.”