Divorce rate up 20519% in the last 100 years

More than a century has passed since the Titanic famously sank and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released a series of statistics comparing life then with now. One statistic which caught the eye was the 20519% increase in divorce from 1911 to 2010.

Just 580 divorces were recorded in the UK in 1911 whereas today, over 119,000 couples decided to end their marriages. This massive hike in divorces has come even though the marriage rate has dropped. Nearly 275,000 couples wed in 1911, whereas that figure is now close to just 240,000. Furthermore, only around 8.5 people in every 1000 marry today compared to over 15 in every 1000 100 years ago.

This figures make for enjoyable reading however, in reality they are of little worth unless they are analysed in conjunction with other factors about how the composition of society and the attitudes within it have changed. Women for example would have found it extremely difficult to secure a divorce in 1911 due to the fact that infidelity and a further imprudence were required as grounds for divorce. Additionally, divorce is far more socially acceptable today than it was 100 years ago.

It would be fascinating to see what people are citing today as grounds for divorce and how that compares to 1911. Indeed with attitudes changing so dramatically, a commitment for life is oddly more flexible today and as people live longer they are unwilling to remain in unstable relationships until the day they die.

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