We ask Birmingham: Why are young people marrying less?

According to data from the latest Census there has been a significant drop in the number of young people getting married in Birmigham
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Data from the 2021 Census has revealed that fewer people between the ages of 25 and 34 have been married than a decade ago - a drop of almost 10%.

Marriage has become less popular among all age groups across England and Wales - and I’m here on the streets of Birmingham asking people why they think that is. Marriage has been a cornerstone of society for centuries.

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While the concept of marriage has evolved over time - once being more of a contract between families ensuring property and inheritance rights, since becoming a choice made by couples based on love and companionship, this binding partnership has been seen as a source of stability - especially with regards to child rearing.

So, does a drop of almost 10% of people between 25 and 34 having ever been married signal that this age-old institution is on the decline, and if so - should anything be done about it? Here’s what the good peole of Birmingham told me.

Jennifer says: “​​I’m not surprised that people are marrying less actually. I feel quite sorry for younger people, because I think life’s so expensive to get onto the property ladder, it costs such a lot of money.

“And so if you’re at a point where you’re, you’re in a stable relationship, and you’re looking to buy a house and get married, both of those things cost such a lot of money now that I think people are probably having to pick either or.

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“And, you know, again, there’s such a lot of marketing around the wedding industry that I suppose if you want to get married, you want the wedding that you want, you know, you don’t want to make do.”

Robert says: “I think there’s definitely less pressure from society. It’s not the done thing as much. I mean, I’m happily married with my wife, but I know lots of people that live with their partners and don’t have any plans.”

Jennifer in Birmingham tells us why she believes young people are getting married lessJennifer in Birmingham tells us why she believes young people are getting married less
Jennifer in Birmingham tells us why she believes young people are getting married less

Femi says: “No, I think you got to remember that the institution of marriage has varied over the last 300,000 years that us humans have existed. So the idea of a kind of nuclear arrangement that we have now is a very recent phenomenon, and even the idea of a formal marriage in the way we’re currently know it is very, very recent.

“So there is no good reason to think that the current arrangement - what we currently regard as traditional - is going to remain as it always has been. What we’re discussing is what are the arrangements under which those liaisons will be formed? And we expect that that will change over time.”

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