The reasons for this decrease are due to a change in social norms and a decline in social stigma. It is now socially acceptable to not get married, and lots of individuals choose to concentrate on other aspects of their life such as their career rather than marriage. Woman especially are treated very differently than they were in the 1950s. They now have access to higher education and careers and are not expected to be housewives. In 2004 the UK average ratio of men and woman at university was 51:49 which shows that nearly just as many woman choose to go on to higher education as men.
However, after this period, the number of marriages in England and Wales then went into decline. Most recently, marriages reached an all-time low in 2005 when only 244,710 couples got married. Some people would say that it reached so low because people are rejecting marriage and are no longer bothered about it. But in fact, statistics reveal that many people are actually delaying marriage. It is said that most people will marry at some point in their lives, but people are deciding to marry later in life, most likely after a period of cohabitation.
A change that has happened to childbearing since the 1970's is that over four in ten children are now born outside of marriage, which is five times more than it was in 1971. This means that more children are being born into lone-parent families or cohabilitating families. A reason for this is that there has been a huge decline in the stigma that used to be held over births outside marriage and also a increase in cohabiliatation. An example of this is that only one third of 18-24 year olds think marriage should come before parenthood, meaning that the rise in births outside of marriage is more to do with the increase in cohabilitating couples than it is to do with single parents. Another change that has happened in childbearing since the 1970's is that women are having fewer children and children later in life.
Divorce rates in the past 20 years have been declining the majority of that decline has been attributed to both men and women waiting longer to marry at a more advanced and mature age. Those who choose to wait until they are more mature to marry have a greater chance of being prepared to and have the ability to work through any issues that may arise early in the marriage. (Lamanna & Reidmann, 2011, 405). Perhaps more education can increase this likely hood as well, as often times during the education process most people would agree that they have had to deal with some sort of adversity weather that be a difficult test, the stress of having tons of work and very little time or maybe the class that is not going as well as you would like. Usually we learn not to give up but to try and isolate the reason for the stress and to find a solution to get through the issue(s) these lessons can also be
Discuss the idea that religion is on the decline in society (40 marks) It has been proven throughout the 20th century that religion is on the decline in society this is because less people are able to attend, possibly due to work and/or family commitments, although the decline rate seems to be slowing. According to the 2005 church census there are two major reasons as to why there is a slowing decline, which are the growing number of churches and the fact that there is a considerable increase in ethnic minority church goers. In 1851, fewer than 40% of the population attended church, whereas in 2005, an average of 6.6% of the adult population would attend church. This dramatic decline could be because in 1851, Sunday was known as the day of rest, where everyone would go to church as a family and there would be no shops open whereas today, businesses are open as usual and so more people are going to work or spending time with their families after having had a hard week at work instead of going to church. The decline in church attendance in Britain can be interpreted in a number of different ways.
After the 'baby boom' after the Second World War, the UK's population experienced much less births tham before. In 2004, 716 000 children were born, which is 21% fewer than in 1071. This decline of the birth rate may be caused by the decline in the infant mortality rate. More children survive the first years of their life because sanitation, medical care, water supplies and nutrition have imporved throughout the century. This meant that parents did not have the need to have lots of children to ensure that a few survived, and families got smaller.
This means children are now expensive to have and people do not have the money to have as many children as they used too. Medical advances have been a consequence to the changes in population. Due to improvements in midwifery and immunisation, the infant mortality rate has decreased significantly. This now means partners do not need to have as many children as it is more certain their child will live through their childhood. This was not the case at the beginning of the 20th century.
Mitchell and goody (1997) claim that important changes since the 1960's has rapidly declined stigma attached to divorce. This implys people attitudes towards is no longer the same and that people have more choice in their marriage. It also shows divorce would increase as in terms that your decision is valued by society and you may even get support.
Secularisation means the decline of the importance / influence of religion in society. Due to science becoming more influential in a modern society, religion is no longer necessarily seen as such an important contributor. As marriage is a religious concept, it might also now be seen as somewhat less significant in society and many might not perceive it to be as valuable or important as it once was. Divorce could be the result of this as the decline of the value of marriage might lead people to believe it is not long term. A third reason for changes in the divorce rate is the changes in women’s expectations surrounding marriage.
Over the past 100 years there has been a declining rate in family sizes in the UK, birth rate across the UK has also decreased. The birth rate is the number of live births per 1000 of the population per year. Since the 1900 the birth rate has been decreasing with the exception of the ‘baby booms’ after the wars and during the 1960’s, but still the overall birth rate has been decreasing with time. There are several social factors which contribute to these changes, Since the early 1900’s women were married and starting a family at an early age and if they weren’t they were frowned upon, however over time the position of women in society has changed and their status and power is much higher than it was before. The changes that occurred include greater equality, rights to vote, rights to divorce, work opportunities and the availability of contraception to control their fertility, due these factors women are no longer frowned upon on for having ambitions and goals to achieve before they settle down and start a family.