Economic revival pushes up marriage rate

06/02/2007 14:00

The number of marriages in 2006 increased marginally, relative to trough year 2005, but is still far below the numbers common in the early 1970s. The economic revival is partly accountable for the increase in marriages in 2006.

Number of weddings

Number of weddings

Record low in 2005

Last year, 73 thousand couples married, as against 72 thousand in 2005. Such a low number was unprecedented since the Second World War. In the early 1970s, more than 120 thousand couples married each year. Due to a different attitude towards the concept of marriage, a rise in cohabiting couples and a shift in the composition of the population, it is unlikely that the situation of the early 1970s will repeat itself.

Four in ten will never marry

Living together outside of marriage is common these days. Three-quarters of people who say they have no intention of getting married think that being married does not add anything to their current situation.
Probably, four in every ten people in their thirties will never marry, but the majority of them will live together at any time in their lives. The group of people in their thirties – the potential husbands and wives – is declining annually and will continue to decline in the years to come.     

Number of 30 to 39-year-olds

Number of 30 to 39-year-olds

Revival in 2006

The decision to get married partly depends on the economic situation. The economic boom of the late 1990s pushed up consumers’ willingness to buy as well as the number of marriages. When willingness to buy subsequently declined, fewer people got married.

Willingness to buy and number of weddings

Willingness to buy and number of weddings

Since mid-2005, employment and optimism about the economy have improved. If they become more optimistic, consumers tend to change their spending pattern accordingly and the number of weddings will also increase.
       
Jan Latten and Wieteke van Dijk