In the United Kingdom, the majority of women aged 16 to 34 have never married, as more young people delay starting families in order to achieve economic goals, or outright reject matrimony.
The once-in-a-decade census has revealed that a majority of women in every age group from 16 to 34 years old have remained unmarried, while the number of people getting married has fallen to its lowest level on record, according to the Office for National Statists (ONS).
According to the census figures, some 54.2 per cent of women aged between 30 to 34 were unmarried as of 2021, an 11 per cent increase over the previous census in 2011 and over twice as many recorded in 1991 when just 18.3 per cent of 30-34 year old women were unwed. There was also a 13 per cent increase in unmarried women between the ages of 25 and 29, 80.5 per cent of whom were recorded as never marrying.
While the decline in marriage is often attributed to younger generations putting it off until later years, this apparently does not always work out for many women, with the data showing that one in four (23.9 per cent) of women never entered into a marriage or civil partnership by the age of 50.
When ethnicity and age were taken into account, the “Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean or African” groups had the highest proportion of people who had never married or entered into a civil partnership, while the “Asian, Asian British, or Asian Welsh” ethnic groups had the lowest.
“Britain is turning away from marriage, and women seem to be moving away from getting married more than most,” said Frank Young of the Civitas think tank. Since the early 1990s, the number of women under the age of 40 who marry has decreased.
“We urgently need to recast marriage as a social good — for adults and children — because we are rapidly becoming a nation of singletons and cohabitees.”