Here’s a recent report from the UK:
Marriage is on the rocks in Britain, with the proportion of unmarried people set to exceed that of married people within 25 years as more men and women opt to live together without constraints, according to government statistics published this week.
The proportion of married men is expected to fall from 53 percent in 2003 to 42 percent in 2031, while the percentage of married women will decline from 50 percent to 40 percent, Britain’s Office for National Statistics predicted Thursday.
The “Population Trends” report predicted on the other hand that the number of unmarried couples living together will almost double from two million in 2003 to 3.8 million in 2031.
The projections are based on the recent steep fall in marriage rates for people aged under 30. As the older generation dies, a new generation of people who prefer living together to marriage will take their place.
My travels have not yet taken me to the UK, so I can’t speak from personal experience, but I have difficulty seeing these trends as being good for children – or even for those who for the sake of freedom (is that their reason?) eschew marriage.
Marriage is hard work. Raising children is hard work. Both require self-denial. Both require delayed gratification, often for years – sometimes forever. Both are still worth doing.