Latest divorce figures show fall of nearly 3% on previous year

Third of marriages in 1968 ended in divorce by 2013

Latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics, for the year 2013, show:

  • There were 114,720 divorces in England and Wales in 2013, a decrease of 2.9% since 2012, when there were 118,140 divorces.
  • In 2013, there were 9.8 men divorcing per thousand married males and 9.8 women divorcing per thousand married females. A decrease of 27% for men and 26% for women compared with 2003.
  • The number of divorces in 2013 was highest among men and women aged 40 to 44.
  • For those married in 1968, 20% of marriages had ended in divorce by the 15th wedding anniversary whereas for those married in 1998, almost a third of marriages (32%) had ended by this time.

Following a decline in the number of divorces between 2003 and 2009 (from 153,065 to 113,949) there was a 4.9% increase in divorces in 2010. The number of divorces then remained relatively stable until 2012, fluctuating just below the number recorded in 2010, before falling again in 2013. The fall in divorces to 2009 is consistent with a decline in the number of marriages over the same period. The decrease in marriages may be due to the increasing number of couples choosing to cohabit rather than enter into marriage. Since 2009 the number of marriages has increased each year, while the number of divorces has fluctuated.

The ONS statistical bulletin is here.

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