The majority out of wedlock

In a somewhat unsurprising news article published recently, it was revealed that in the UK, the majority of children will be born out of wedlock within three years due to the falling marriage rates.

The piece notes that “The proportion of children born to unmarried mothers hit a record 47.5 per cent last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. The figure has risen from 25 per cent in 1988 and just 11 per cent in 1979. If the trend continues at the current rate, the majority of children will be born to parents who are not married by 2016. Conservative MPs and experts warned that the stark decline of marriage is likely to lead to more family breakdowns and damage children’s prospects. Tim Loughton, the former Children’s minister, called on the government to introduce tax breaks for married couples to help stop the decline. He said: ‘If people are prepared to make a public declaration to each other in front of their friends and family they are more likely to stay together. Without marriage people drift in and out of relationships very easily'”.

The article goes on to mention that “David Cameron has pledged to introduce legislation to give couples tax breaks worth £150 by the end of the year. The Prime Minister has been forced to put a timetable on government plans to recognise marriage in the tax system amid growing Conservative unrest over the failure to act. Last year a total of 346,595 babies were born outside marriage and civil partnerships in England and Wales, equivalent to 47.5 per cent. In 2002 the proportion was 40.6 per cent, and if the trend continues at the same rate more than half of children will be born out of wedlock by 2016. According to the 2011 Census, the number of people who are married in England and Wales has fallen from just over half of the population a decade ago to 45 per cent. The figures represented the first time since the Census was founded in 1801 that married couples have been in a minority. More than 11 million people in England and Wales are single, reflecting the growing number who have chosen not to marry, while more than 5 million unmarried people live with their partners”.

The piece adds later that “The official figures show that 729,674 children were born in 2012 and mothers now have an average of two children each, the highest fertility rate since the 1970s. The rise in the birth rates has been driven by immigration and women chosing to have children later in life. The number of women aged over 40 having children reached a record 29,994, up from just 6,519 in 2002. The average age of mothers has risen to 29.8 years in 2012, compared to 27 in 1982. The ONS said: ‘These trends reflect the increasing numbers of women delaying childbearing to later ages'”.

Much of the problem is down to a lack of marriage which hinges on the ever increasingly individualism in societies, and added to this the decline in belief in God as exemplified by attendance at an official church domination. However, the other problem is that relativistic belief that all forms of “partnership” are equally valid. This is not the case and indeed the concern is that marriage will become a thing of the past for the vast majority with only a few couples choosing to commit to what is by far the most stable form of union in society and therefore the best for children.

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