Using Information from the Items and Elsewhere, Examine the Reasons Fo Hanging Patterns of Marriage, Cohabitation and Childbearng in the Last 40 Years

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Using information from the Items and elsewhere, examine the reasons for changing patterns of marriage, cohabiting and childbearing in the last 40 years (24 marks) The term marriage refers to a legal contract between man and women binding them as husband and wife by legal or religious commitments. Cohabitation refers to a man and women living together in a relationship. There is no legal or religious element binding the couple together. Childbearing refers to the process of giving birth. However all three have changed significantly over the last 40 years. Since 1970, marriage rates have changed significantly. There has been a decrease in marriage from 48,000 in 1972 to only 30,600 in 2000. Item A states that only half as many people are getting married today. There are many reasons why marriage rates have decreased over the years these include Religious significance has dropped dramatically in many western countries including the U.K. Many people no longer feel that marriage is essential. As less people are religious, they are more likely to cohabit or divorce without fear of ‘living a sin’. The decline of religious significance is known as secularisation. Even if people do decide to marry they no longer want the traditional wedding they would rather have something different such as at a Beach or somewhere significant to the people like a supermarket. Also changes in social attitudes mean that people are deciding to marry at a later age rather than rejecting marriage altogether. Item B states that in 1971, only 4% of women remained unmarried by the age of 50. By 1987, this figure had grown to 17%. Rise in female independence could be a contributing factor to this rise, this includes women have a greater desire to follow a career first then start a family. Rather than rejecting marriage, many couples may find alternatives, such as cohabitation. Cohabitation
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