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02 February 2018

Teenagers still plan to marry despite trend in cohabitation

Despite a growing trend for cohabitation, the majority of teenagers still intend to get married in later life.

According to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), over three out of four teens between the ages of 14 and 17 say that one of their life aspirations is to marry, and that marriage is not the same as simply cohabiting.

There is now a call for marriage and commitment to be added to the revised sex education curriculum, which is being updated for the first time in 20 years this spring.

Sex education lessons will become compulsory, but campaigners fear that without any emphasis being put on commitment and fidelity, the significance of them will be lost.

Statistics show, however, that less than two-thirds of people are married or have been married - far fewer than the number 10 years ago.

Furthermore, those who do get married tend to be higher earners; 87% of high earners get married, while only 24% of lower earners make the decision.

According to the Marriage Foundation, the number of weddings being held each year is at an all-time low - and only about half of today's 20-year-olds will ever fulfil their teenage dream of getting married.

Statistics also show that, while only a quarter of parents who were married when their first child was born separate by the time the child is 15, a total of 56% who were only cohabiting when their child was born found themselves separated by the same age.

This compares to 69% of cohabiting parents who never married.

Head of family policy at the CSJ Frank Young said: "Despite growing up with no better than a 50/50 chance of their own parents separating, young people still have strong relationship ambitions. Not only do young people want a lasting relationship in adult life, they aspire to marriage."

"Updated guidance on relationships education shouldn't ignore the word marriage."

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