Marriage Loses out as Social Attitudes Change; RESEARCH: Cohabitation Is Now Widely Accepted

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 26, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Marriage Loses out as Social Attitudes Change; RESEARCH: Cohabitation Is Now Widely Accepted


Byline: TIM MOYNIHAN

THE number of people who think couples should get married if they want children is falling, according to the British Social Attitudes survey.

In 1989, seven out of 10 people took that view, now only just over five out of 10 (54pc) do, the study by the National Centre for Social Research says.

Just over a quarter (27pc) think married couples make better parents than unmarried ones, and a clear majority (67pc) think cohabitation is acceptable, even if a couple do not intend to get married.

One of the researchers, Alison Park, said, "Cohabitation is widely accepted as a prelude to marriage and as an alternative, even where there are children involved. There's a clear suggestion that values will continue to shift in a more liberal direction in years to come."

Young people - especially young women - are particularly unconvinced about the need for marriage, with only a third of 18 to 24 year olds thinking marriage should precede parenthood.

However only 9pc dismiss marriage as "just a piece of paper" and nearly six in 10 think it is still the best kind of relationship.

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