Rise of ‘silver singles’ after hike in divorce rates in 70s put them off marriage

30 Apr

Bachelors and spinsters are concepts consigned to history. But figures suggest that new terms might be needed as the number of single people in their 50s has doubled in 15 years.

Analysis of ONS figures for the Sunday Telegraph show that the number of people in their fifties who have never been married or in a civil partnership, and who do not cohabit has almost doubled since 2002, from 377,180 to 724,439.

While the overall number of people who have never married or been in a civil partnership has increased slightly from 20,092,604 in 2002 to 22,678,798 in 2015, the increase has been significant for those in their late forties, fifties and sixties.

The shift is particularly striking among women. The number in their early fifties who have never married has increased by 150 per cent in 13 years, from 74,941 in 2002 to 185,694 in 2015.

Among men the number increased from 135,216 to 228,078, a 70 per cent rise.  Meanwhile plunging divorce rates suggest that those who do marry are now less likely to split. Analysis published in December suggested that divorce fell to its lowest level for 40 years in 2014. 

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