Family Law

Married couples to become a minority

Guest post from family lawyers and psychological strategists, GE Law

Families headed by married couples will be in a minority by 2050, according to a new report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). The report also finds that marriage is increasingly the preserve of the middle and upper classes.

According to the independent think tank, only about 50% of new parents on low income are married. This rises to nearly 80% for couples on £21,000 to £31,000 a year and to nearly 90% for those earning over £50,000 a year.

The report concedes that there have been some “promising” moves by Ministers to promote family stability, such as the publication of their Social Justice Strategy and the release of public money to provide relationship support. But overall the CSJ is deeply dismayed by the lack of progress since the Coalition was formed in 2010, warning that official efforts to promote stable families are “dwarfed by the scale and cost of family breakdown”.

The CSJ study draws on new data from the 2011 census and the Millennium Cohort Study to chart the decline of the married family.

The proportion of families headed by a married couple has dropped by 5% over the last decade while there has been a % rise in cohabiting couple families and a 2% rise in lone parent families.

The rise in cohabitation is actually fuelling lone parenthood because cohabiting couples with children are far less stable than those who are married, says the CSJ.

The report calculates that on current trends, by 2031 only 57% of families will be headed by married couples. By 2047, 35 years from now, families headed by a married couple would be a minority – 49.5% of all families.