Proportion of married women drops below 50% but more over 70s are walking down the aisle

Over the past ten years, there’s been a decline in the number of women getting married in the UK.

According to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 49.5 per cent of women were married in 2018, compared to 50.8 per cent in 2008.

But that doesn’t mean women aren’t getting married, in fact, more are getting married later in life. Those aged 70 and above are choosing to walk down the aisle, with 55.8 per cent doing so in 2018.

This is higher than 2008’s figure, which saw 50.3 per cent of older people getting married.

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Great British Bake Off’s Prue Leith remarried in 2016, at the age of 76. She had been widowed eight years previously but decided to marry new partner John Playfair.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Prue defended the decision to marry later in life. The presenter said: “I am giddy with the joy of it.

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“And why shouldn’t we oldies be happy, fall in love, feel that rush of unadulterated happiness again? There’s nothing in the world like it — and it’s the same at 70 as it was at 17. Same anxiety, same longing, feeling sick, excitement, same everything.”

As a result of older women getting married, living alone has also become less common for those aged 70 or older.

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ONS’s Edward Morgan, Senior Research Officer, said: “There are a number of reasons for the increase in the proportion of married people over 70 years old.

“This could be due to people marrying later in life than in the past, people living longer or more remarriages at older ages”, he added.

The lowest marriage rate recording was 48.9 per cent in 2016, the same year that Prue Leith married.

Edward spoke about the mean age of marriage, adding: “What we are also seeing in the UK is a rise in the mean age of first time marriage. A lot of people in past generations who would get married at quite young ages, say in their 20s, have been postponing it later and later in life.”