Marriage and children in the UK today

London, 2010: New research indicates that Brits still considered marriage to be best for raising children, even though last month’s ONS figures revealed that women in the UK these days are more likely to be a “Mum” than a “Mrs”.
The Office for National Statistics may indicate that marriage levels have dropped to their lowest in the United Kingdom since 1895, however the results of a study by eHarmony’s relationship experts indicate that belief in marriage remains a key factor in today’s society and relationships. The survey polled 3,000 men and women and found that “traditional attitudes” were particularly prevalent among male respondents in terms of raising children, parenting and marriage.
Nearly half of all the male respondents nominated marriage to be best for bringing up kids, with 42% of the female respondents recording the same result. A further indication is that 61% thought marriage to be a natural step in confirming commitment.
If there seems to be some conflict between these figures and those released by ONS, it’s due to career and financial considerations rather than a change in attitude surrounding the institution of marriage, according to Dr Gian Gonzaga, the senior director of research for eHarmony Labs. He explains why recent marriage rate statistics don’t necessarily reflect British values and beliefs: “People are getting married later because of the pressures of career and financial independence but that does not equate to a change in attitude or belief in the institution of marriage. Whether they were 16 or 60, single, in a relationship, married or divorced, more than one third of people we spoke to believed it’s important for children to have married parents.”
General results indicated that the belief in marriage is still prevalent, particularly among the younger survey respondents. In the category of 16-24 years old, 59% of respondents agreed that marriage constituted “a natural step in confirming your commitment”, whilst less than 20% regarded it as outdated or irrelevant. 36% of younger respondents furthermore considered marriage to be important for bringing up children. The 3,000 survey respondents came from a variety of age and relationship backgrounds throughout the UK including those single in Sheffield, dating in London, divorced in Devonshire or married in the Midlands.
eHarmony was launched in the United Kingdom in 2008 following extensive research into love and relationships. It offers British singles a dating and relationship service based on scientific models known as the Compatibility Matching System™. eHarmony.co.uk launched in 2008. eHarmony Labs, the company’s Pasadena, California-based research centre and the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford partnered to gather and analyse data identifying patterns that predict compatibility for couples throughout the UK. Dr Gonzaga is senior director of research at eHarmony Labs, and has received numerous honours and awards for his work teaching, presenting and publishing extensively on topics relating to relationships, love and health.