The family life time-bomb hidden in the trend away from marriage

What does the future hold for Britain’s teens?In terms of relationships, it depends almost entirely on whether they get married or not. On today’s trends, only half of them will. That’s a lot fewer than for their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

Why does this matter? My new research, published today, takes a line-up of 100 teens and estimates how many will become parents and manage to hold down a stable relationship until their child or children reach age 16.

The stats I’ve used to do all this are easier to calculate for teenage girls. Here’s what I found:

  • Of the 52 girls who will go on to marry at some stage, 34 will become mothers and remain married.
  • Of the 48 who will never marry, just 5 will become mothers and remain together with their partner.
  • The net effect is that only 39 out of 100 of today’s teenage girls will achieve stable family life. Almost all of these will have got married.

The chart below shows what’s coming our way

  • Roughly equal numbers of girls will marry or not marry (blue)
  • Those who marry are much more likely to have children than those who never marry (red) – this is based on brand new data from the survey Understanding Society.
  • The outcomes in terms of who achieves stable family life look very different indeed (yellow)

36 Divided nation

So the family life time bomb rolls on relentlessly. By way of comparison, among 60 year olds, 60 out of 100 achieved stable family life. Among 40 year olds, it will be 47 out of 100.

All of this boils down to one simple fact. The trend away from marriage.

The worst of it is that this is all yet to happen. You can figure out the consequences for yourself.

  • More family breakdown
  • More lone parents
  • Fewer couples

You can read how the Telegraph and Mail cover my new report here (the Mail were kind enough to correct heir original headline which was wrong).

Alternatively you can read the press release and full report on our website which shows how I made all the projections.

One thought on “The family life time-bomb hidden in the trend away from marriage

  1. Pingback: Young twice as likely to face family breakdown - Maybe 'I do'

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