The attitude of a generation is decided by its political and socioeconomic conditions. The British Social Attitudes Survey, statistics from the Office of National Statistics, British Demographic and Attitudinal Trend Survey, and studies by scholars in various universities
Why is the UK drawing so much attention? Divorce rates are high in a few other West European nations too. What is drawing statisticians down here is the rapidly changing demographic contours of the nation. The statistics reveal a people moving through a time of great flux. The very fact that this data is being considered as an important matter of study is itself an indication of the opinion of a generation. A History of the Relations Only 2% of men and women born before 1930 cohabited before marriage. By the 1960’s, the number rose to 50%. Around the middle of the 1980’s, the attitude towards cohabitation changed massively. This was when we were poised at the brink of the digital age, the concept of retail was changing, home businesses were beginning to flourish, and the children were becoming more neglected. Cohabitation was previously considered a preamble to marriage. But now cohabitation began to come up as a solution for divorcees to turn over a new leaf, avoiding a second brush with marriage. For young people it became an alternative to marriage itself. Now there is no doubt that it is a strong trend for long-term partnerships. Divorce, in the meantime, has become quite commonplace. The divorce rates rose steadily over the years, before slumping in 2005, and it is hoped that the slump will persist. However, this is not a result of a sudden spurt of successful marriages all over the country. In fact, the number of marriages solemnised in 2005, has reached an all-time low when compared to the statistics for the past decade. So the best way to avoid getting divorced is not to get married at all. Divorce and the Elderly It is stunning but true, divorce rates among the sixty plus group have been on the rise for the past few years. More 55+ men and women are also getting married than ever before. The concept of the old man in ‘slippers and pantaloons’, shaking a disapproving finger at young women who leave their husbands, get a divorce, and then leave the child at home to go to work is a thing of the yester years. In fact, a jolly old granny, still working and glamorous, may start a new affair at 65. There is much support being offered on the part of the elderly where their grandchildren are concerned. More than 75% of grandparents in the UK are in favour of granting visitation rights to them too when their children divorce, and are ready to help the grand children tide over the troubled times under their care. However, most fight shy of providing continued financial support to the divorced offspring or to grand children. Divorce and the Middle Aged If we take the 40 – 55 group as middle-aged, the ruling trend is divorce, followed by remarriage. People of this age group are at the peak of their career, have children, and are earning well. They also divorce the least, and remarry quite often. Child care tendencies among them are also highest, and four out of five divorced mothers have voiced the opinion that they are willing to go out for work if they only had access to proper daycare for their children. Poverty among single parents is a major problem in this sector, and there are couples who are actually dragging on with a marriage because they know they won’t be able to give their children all that they need if they separated. The middle-aged group seems to be having the greatest variety of opinions as well, and survey results are highly uneven, suggesting that attitudes changed over localities, economies and cultures within the nation. Divorce and the Young Young people, 25 – 35, are losing faith in marriage. So divorce is not on the horizon. Those who do get married early are splitting soon. Divorce rates have been the highest among the 25 –29 group for five years now. Divorce and Children They are the worst-hit, and most neglected, despite all the awareness campaigns and support groups. Divorce, for them, is only pain and confusion from the unfair world of adults.