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Figures Reveal Fall in Divorce Numbers

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a fall in the number of divorces that took place in England and Wales during 2014.

The figures show that:

  • There were 111,169 divorces in 2014, a decrease of 3.1% compared with 2013 and a decline of 27% from a recent peak in 2003.
  • The number of divorces in 2014 was highest among men aged 45 to 49 and women aged 40 to 44.
  • In 2014, there were 9.3 men divorcing per thousand married males, a decrease of 5.1% compared with 2013 and a fall of 30.6% from a recent peak in the divorce rate in 2004.
  • In 2014, there were 9.3 women divorcing per thousand married females, a decrease of 5.1% compared with 2013 and a drop of 29.5% compared with 2004.

According to the ONS, the fall in divorces is consistent with a decline in the number of marriages over the same period. The ONS suggests that the decrease in marriages may be due to the increasing number of couples choosing to cohabit rather than enter into marriage. Following a period of relative stability in the number of divorces between 2009 and 2012, divorces continued to decline in 2013 and 2014.

“Compared with 2004, divorce rates in 2014 were lower for all age groups except women aged 55 and over,” commented Nicola Haines, from the ONS. “Likely factors include increased cohabiting and increasing age at first marriage. Previous research indicates a higher risk of divorce among those marrying at younger ages, whilst cohabitation may be reducing the number of weaker relationships progressing to marriage.”

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