Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The way we are now

The Office for National Statistics Social Trends report studies patterns in UK society.
Changing families

Nearly a quarter of children lived with only one parent last year and nine out of 10 of those households were headed by lone mothers.

David Green, director of the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If you take almost any measure - how well children do in school, whether they turn to crime, whether they commit suicide, etc - it's better to have two parents.

"It's also the biggest disadvantage of lone parenthood that you're much more likely to be poor."

In 2005 there were a record 60.2m people living in Britain
The number of households has risen 30% since 1971, but the population only rose by 8%

More children are born in Britain today outside of marriage than in most other European countries, the report also said.

The average figure is 44%, compared with just 3% in Cyprus, and just 12% in Britain in the early 1970s.

BBC home editor Mark Easton said that in Wales and the north east of England the numbers of children born to unmarried parents were even higher, at 52% and 55% respectively.

More than seven million people in Britain also live alone now, compared with three million in 1971.

This, the report said, had left societies more fragmented and led to much less trust and co-operation between neighbours.

Other findings included:

Second marriages made up two-fifths of all marriages in 2005.

In the same year, the average age at first marriage in England and Wales was 32 for men and 29 for women - up from 25 and 23 respectively in 1971.

Divorces in 2005 fell to 155,000 from a 1993 peak of 180,000.
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When we married in 1969 we were both the average age then for marriage, 23.
For a long time I have complained that the problems of a housing shortage are caused mainly by people not living together and staying together. I think my point is proved. With a decreased Christian ethic society suffers the consequences. As usual the taxes of stable families subsidise the feckless. I am not saying all single parents are feckless but the responsible as ever pay for the irresponsible.

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