The provisional number of marriages registered in England and Wales in 2009 was 231,490. This currently represents the lowest numbers of marriages in England and Wales since 1895 (228,204). However, it is estimated that a further 1 per cent of 2009 marriage returns will be received from register offices and the clergy over the next year allowing final figures to be published in spring 2012. It is therefore expected that final 2009 marriage figures will be slightly lower in total than 2008 (235,794).
The provisional number of UK weddings in 2009 is 266,950. The long-term picture for UK weddings is one of decline, from a peak of 480,285 marriages in 1972. In Scotland the number of marriages decreased from 28,903 in 2008 to 27,524 in 2009, a fall of 4.8 per cent, while in Northern Ireland the number of marriages decreased by 6.8 per cent to 7,931 in 2009.
In England and Wales, the number of unmarried adults rose in 2009, but the provisional number choosing to marry declined, producing the lowest marriage rates since they were first calculated in 1862. In 2009 the provisional marriage rate for men was 21.3 men marrying per 1,000 unmarried men aged 16 and over, down from 22.0 in 2008. The provisional marriage rate for women in 2009 was 19.2 women marrying per 1,000 unmarried women aged 16 and over, down from 19.9 in 2008.
The number of marriages in England and Wales that were the first for both partners peaked in 1940 at 426,100 when 91 per cent of all marriages were the first for both partners. This number has provisionally fallen to 150,600 in 2009, accounting for 65 per cent of all marriages.
Remarriages rose by about a third between 1971 and 1972, following the introduction of the Divorce Reform Act 1969 in England and Wales, and then levelled off. Provisional figures for 2009 show that 80,890 marriages were remarriages for one or both parties accounting for 35 per cent of all marriages. In 1999, 108,488 marriages were remarriages for one or both parties accounting for 41 per cent of all marriages.
Source: Office for National Statistics
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