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Is The Institution Of Marriage In Decline? Should Nations Be Taking Actions To Influence Any Recent Trends ?

1106 words - 4 pages

The institution of marriage is less and less considered in many countries around the world. There was a significant decline in the number of marriages during the last decades. The British society is one of the most affected by this phenomenon with a decrease almost 50% faster than in other societies. There are several reasons that led us to this situation such as the cost of weddings, the rise of cohabitation and the evolution of our culture. Nations are aware of this issue. However, their role is controversial. This essay discusses the factors of this decline as well as the actions which might be taken.

The number of marriages decreased considerably recently. According to the Office for National Statistics in the UK (2009, pp.19), the number decreased of approximately 25 percent between 1991 and 2007 to reach the lowest rate since the 19th century. This drop in the number of marriages can not only be noticed in the UK. It also occurs in other countries such as France and Canada. For instance, the French wedding rate fell down of slightly more than 10% during the six years following the millennium (www.insee.fr). The same diminution was examined in Canada between 2000 and 2004.

The falling number of marriage isn’t the only fact to be concerned with. In 2006, the mean age of British newlyweds reached 27.2 years for women and 31.3 for men compared to 29.7 and 29.3 respectively a decade earlier. Despite the drop in the overall number of marriage during this period, various trends appear depending on the age group, less single men aged between 20 and 29 got married while more of them aged between 35 and 44 did so. There were also discrepancies in the data for women. The amount of weddings grew for women aged between 30 and 44 when the age group 20-24 fell.

In my opinion, the main reason for this phenomenon is the high cost of the wedding. The ceremony can be extremely expensive, especially during a recession. The average cost is estimated at £20,000. This amount of money doesn’t include the honeymoon, which can considerably increase the bill in some cases. Compared to the average gross salary of £26,000 earned by full-time employees, it represents an important expense for a young couple. another goal for couples is to buy a house. Therefore, they face the dilemma of investing into a property or organising a prestigious wedding ceremony. In spite of the importance of the latter option for some of them, the former alternative is usually chosen. As a result, couples save money until their career start. This eventually put them in a more comfortable situation in which they can afford their marriage more easily.

Cohabiting is now very common for lovers. There was an important increase in the number of individuals cohabiting in their twenties during the last decade. Living together gives additional benefits to couples. These privileges can be compared to those accorded to married couples. However, they are slightly different. Moreover, these...

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