Three quarters of all young people want to marry

  • 72 thousand marriages in 2009
  • Nine in ten young people expect to live together
  • Share of unmarried parents rising
  • More singles and single-parent families
  • Half of all ex-partners amiable in first year
  • Living apart together popular among divorced women, and among men and women in their forties and fifties

These are some of the results published in “Relatie en gezin aan het begin van de 21ste eeuw” released today by Statistics Netherlands.

In the first nine months of 2009 there were fewer marriages than the year before. In 2009 as a whole there will be about 72 thousand marriages, 3.5 thousand less than in 2008. This decrease has to do with the economic downturn.

Marriage is still popular among young people: 75 percent want to marry eventually. Nearly all young people consider a relationship ideal. Nine in ten expect to live together. Some 90 percent of the men aged around thirty have experience in living together or plan to do so, versus some 80 percent of the women.

Two third of the young people living together want to marry eventually but keep postponing marriage. The same was true in 2003. The share of unmarried parents is increasing. Among the people in their thirties it went from 8 to 22 percent in a decade. Over half of all first children are born outside marriage.

Because many relationships break up, the number of singles and single-parent families has increased drastically, especially among people in their thirties and forties. The main reason for the break-up in more than a quarter of the cases is that there is someone else. Two in ten women mention addiction and violence as the cause of the break-up, while men hardly ever mention these as causes.

The contact between the ex-partners in the first year after a divorce is reasonably good or good in over half of the cases. When there were no children involved, a third of the ex-partners have no further contact. If there were children involved, only a fifth have no further contact. The contact is bad in one in three cases.

One third of all divorced women want or have a LAT relationship. The fact that there are children, and their potential reaction to the new partners, may play a role in this choice. Over a quarter of the unmarried people over fifty want a LAT relationship. Over half of the people in a living-apart-together relationship turn out to live together on a regular basis, often one or two days a week.