Sociology Marriage and Divorce Essay

1885 Words Apr 28th, 2013 8 Pages
Sociology – Family Unit – Marriage and Divorce

Most people argue that the family is in ‘crisis’. They point to the rapidly increasing divorce rate, cohabitation, illegitimacy and number of single parent families.

What is happening to Marriage?
Marriage has increased in popularity, reaching a peak in 1971. Since then there has been a significant decline in the number of marriages, from 459000 in 1971 to 250000 in 2001.

There is a decline in first marriages where neither partner has been married before. But there is a growing number of remarriages, in which one or both partners have been divorced; these marriages constitute 15% of all marriages in 1971 and 40% in 1996.

The average age at which people first marry has steadily increased
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Taken as a whole young British Asians have more choice and say than previous generations. Their current situation is probably not dramatically different from that of young no-Asian adults who, while choosing their marital partners on the basis of romantic love, often marry people very similar to themselves in terms of background factors such as social class and educational qualifications. Parental influence may be less direct than in an arranged marriage, but parents can show disapproval on ‘inappropriate’ boyfriends or girlfriends.

What are the Patterns in Divorce?
From 1971 to 1996 the number of divorces has more than doubled. In 1991 there were 350000 marriages but 171000 divorces meaning that there were nearly half as many divorces as marriages. The proportion of marriages, which are remarriages, has also been rising, for example 15% of all marriages in 1961 were re-marriages for one or both partners; by 1991 this figure has risen to 36%.

Britain has the highest divorce rate in Europe according to official EU statistics (Eurostat, June 2001). Each year, 2.7 people per thousand of the population get divorced in Britain compared with the EU average of 1.8 per thousand.

Who Divorces?
Young spouses and young marriages are most at risk. A person’s age at marriage is strongly associated with the likelihood of divorce. Generally speaking, the older people are when they marry, the less chance they have of

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