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1 in 4 Britons don’t think they will meet the ‘right’ person to marry, survey shows

‘Messy’ divorces were cited as a reason people didn’t want to get married

Kate Ng
Thursday 30 June 2022 13:44 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A quarter of Britons don’t think they will ever meet the “right” person to marry, a new survery has found.

The survery by YouGov, has found that while a majority (40 per cent) of unwed people in the UK want to get married, nearly a third (28 per cent) believe they will not and 29 per cent are still unsure.

Of the 8,765 UK adults aged between 18 and over 55 who were surveyed, around one in five (23 per cent) are sceptical that they will meet the right person to marry.

This figure rises to 32 per cent among unmarried single people who do not want to get married in the future.

Another reason for not wanting to get married is the prospect of a “messy divorce”.

Around 14 per cent of people say the risk of divorce has put them off marriage, with men slightly more likely to say this is the case (18 per cent) than women (11 per cent).

Nearly half (48 per cent) of unwed Britons who do not want to get married say they don’t see any point in doing so, and more than a third (34 per cent) think the institution of marriage is “outdated”.

A fifth (20 per cent) say religious elements associated with marriage put them off carrying out their nuptials.

The survey also showed that younger Britons who do not wish to marry are more likely to cite marriage being outdated as part of their reason to remain unwed.

More than half (56 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 believe this compared to just 15 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

Younger people are also more likely to be put off by the religious underpinnings of marriage (35 per cent) compared to only nine per cent of those aged 55 and over.

They are also more likely to say they have “heard bad things about marriage from others” (18 per cent), compared to only four per cent of the older age group.

However, the vast majority of young people surveyed believe in marriage, with a total of 65 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds already married or wanting to be.

The age group most likely to be opposed to marriage were those aged 45 to 54, but the number of people from this demographic were still a minority (17 per cent) compared to 55 per cent who were already married or want to.

The number of marriages in the UK have been declining for decades, with the latest data showing a 45 per cent decrease since 1972.

In 2020, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that marriage rates among heterosexual couples hit a record low, with 2.8 per cent fewer marriages registered in England and Wales in 2017 compared to the year before.

The ONS data also showed that the average age for heterosexual couples to marry in 2017 was 35.7 years for women and 38 years for men.

Among same-sex couples, the average age for marriage was slightly higher, at 40.1 years for men and 36.6 years for women.

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