Almost half of all couples who married in 1986 and 1988 will divorce

Couples who married in 1986 and 1988 have 44 per cent of divorcing

Emma Henderson
Tuesday 01 December 2015 16:44 GMT
Advocacy groups say when minors marry older adults they engage in relationships that would otherwise amount to statutory rape
Advocacy groups say when minors marry older adults they engage in relationships that would otherwise amount to statutory rape (Rex Features)

Couples who got married in 1986 and 1988 have the highest chance of their marriage ending in divorce, according to a think tank.

Using information from the Official National Statistics (ONS), The Marriage Foundation says that almost half (44.4 per cent) of those who tied the knot in those years will eventually split up.

But those who tied the knot and have managed to stay married since 1986 only have a three per cent of getting divorced now.

After 1986 and 1988, the next most unsuccessful year for marriage was 1991, where 10.6 per cent of people divorced within the first five years of being together.

People who got married in 1988 similarly only had a four per cent chance of divorcing today too.

For today’s newlyweds, the divorce figure is down to 38 per cent.

After the late 1980s, the number of marriages ending in divorce began to slow reaching a steady 38 per cent by 2008.

This year saw the most amount of stable marriages with only 6.5 per cent ending in divorce in the first five years.

Since the 1990s, people have been marrying later and living together before marriage.

The stats show the increase in marriage breakdowns from the late 1960 onwards.

The 1969 marriage reform act changed divorce laws. Before then, couples were only allowed to divorce if one had been at fault, such as committing adultery.

From 1970 onwards, divorce rates continually rise from 35.3 per cent up to 1986, where they slowly drop again.

Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation said the average age of bridges and grooms marrying in 2011 was 30 and 32, up from 23 and 25 in the 1980s.

"Once couples get past ten years of marriage, divorce rates have changed remarkably little since the 1960s, in spite of all the social and economic changes.

"This says a lot for the consistency of married life once you get through those first difficult years.

"Actual divorce rates over the first five years of marriage are down 40 per cent down from their 1980s peak.

"The reason is straightforward. As cohabitation becomes ever more accepted, there’s less social and family pressure to tie the knot.

"Men’s commitment is all about buying in to the future, making a decision. So among those who do marry, there are fewer 'sliders' who marry without really buying in to it and more 'deciders' who really mean it.

"More committed men is good news for their wives. Hence less divorce."

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