Fewer wed, but 200 times more divorces than in 1911

 

More than 200 times the number of couples divorce today than a century ago, despite there being fewer couples marrying, statistics reveal.

England and Wales also now have lower birth rates, fewer marriages, and more children born out of wedlock each year.

The figures have been released by the Office of National Statistics as they commemorate the anniversary of the Titanic sinking.

The data indicates a nation whose values have shifted dramatically over the last hundred years.

The stark contrast emerged after contemporary data was compared to that taken from the 74th Annual Report of the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages in England and Wales in 1911.

In 1911, the population of England and Wales was 36,070,492, a number which has almost doubled to 62,262,000 in 2010.

There has also been a drop in birth rates with 843,505 "legitimate" and 37,633 "illegitimate" births registered in 1911 - equivalent to 24.4 per 1,000 of the population.

Fewer babies were born in 2010 than the year prior to the Titanic sailing, with 723,165 being born last year with the crude birth rate down to 13.1 per 1,000 of population. Of these births only 384,375 were within a marriage or civil partnership, with 338,790 which would previously have been classed as "illegitimate".

There were also more deaths in 1911 than in 2010, 527,810 to 493,242.

Despite the leap in population, there were fewer marriages in 2010 than when the Titanic sailed.

In 1911, there were 274,943 marriages recorded, a rate of 15.2 persons married per 1,000 of the population at all ages. In contrast 2010 saw a provisional figure of 241,100 marriages, or 8.7 persons marrying per thousand unmarried population aged 16 and over.

In contrast, divorce has increased from 580 couples in 1911 to 119,589 in 2010, equivalent to 11.1 per every 1,000 married people.

The Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on April 15 1912 while on her maiden voyage between Southampton and New York. More than 1,500 people died in the disaster.

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