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10 February 2012

Press release

Northern Ireland marriage on the rise

Northern Ireland marriage on the rise

During National Marriage Week (7-14 February 2012) Evangelical Alliance is celebrating the fact that Northern Ireland bucks the trend when it comes to marriage. Whilst in Great Britain the number of marriage ceremonies has fallen annually since 2004, we have seen a continual increase since 2009 – despite our current economic climate. 

There were 7,931 marriages in 2009 rising to 8,156 in 2010 – a rise of 3%. During the first three quarters of 2011 marriages rose by 5% from 6,097 to 6,383. During the same period the number of civil partnerships dropped 25% from 91 to 69. (1)

Peter Lynas, director of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland commented: “It's great to see more people getting married, even when times are tough financially and people might have been tempted to avoid the cost of a wedding. There is overwhelming evidence that those who marry live longer, healthier, happier lives.” (2)

The Registrar General’s Report also shows that the vast majority of marriages, 70%, are conducted in churches. This shows how the institution of marriage is intimately connected to, and supported by the church. 

Peter Lynas continued: “The majority of people in Northern Ireland still see the church as relevant to the biggest day of their lives. Churches and faith groups do most of the pre-marriage counselling and are a great source of support for those who are struggling. It is encouraging to see churches at the centre of community life.”

The most recent statistics also confirm that the average age to walk down the aisle is on the increase. The average age of a groom in Northern Ireland is 33, and a bride is 31. (1)

Peter Lynas continued: “People seem to be waiting longer to get married, but when they do it is a more considered decision and so those who marry later tend to stay married longer.”

The data also shed light on some interesting regional trends. The youngest marriage partners are to be found in Ballymoney, and the oldest in Carrickfergus. The most popular venue is also found in Carrickfergus, at the Clarion Hotel. (1)

Media Enquiries

For more information please contact Peter Lynas at:
p.lynas@eauk.org 07899 898066 02890 292266

Notes to Editors

The Evangelical Alliance, formed in 1846, is the largest body serving evangelical Christians in the UK, and has a membership including denominations, churches, organisations and individuals. The mission of the Evangelical Alliance is to unite evangelicals to present Christ credibly as good news for spiritual and social transformation. According to a Tearfund survey (Churchgoing in the UK, 2007), there are approximately 2 million evangelical Christians in the UK. For more information please visit www.eauk.org

The Evangelical Alliance office in Northern Ireland was opened in 1987 specifically to meet the needs of the community here.

(1) Information on 2010 and 2011 marriage trends can be found here: www.nisra.gov.uk/archive/demography/publications/marriages_divorces/MDCP2010.pdf
www.nisra.gov.uk/archive/demography/publications/qtr_report/qtr3_2011.pdf

The breakdown showing the most popular venue and the locations with the oldest and youngest brides and grooms can be found on this page under Marriage 2010.
www.ninis.nisra.gov.uk/mapxtreme/linkeddocs/NINIS_Ezine_Jan2012.html

(2) C M Wilson and A J Oswald, ‘How does marriage affect physiological and psychological health? Evidence for longitudinal studies’, Discussion paper No 1619, IZA, 2005. Available at ftp.iza.org/dp1619.pdf (Accessed 3/12/08)