Friday 2 December 2016

Social status dictates whether you tie knot

Professionals are twice as likely to wed

Published 17/06/2016 | 02:30

Overall the number of couples marrying has declined massively over the past three decades
Overall the number of couples marrying has declined massively over the past three decades

Middle- and upper-class professionals are more than twice as likely to get married as unskilled workers.

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A new study has found that a person's income and social standing will have a major bearing on whether they walk down the aisle.

It shows that two-thirds of people working in executive level jobs between the age of 18-49 years old are married.

However, this falls to just 54.2pc for those with administrative and secretarial occupations and goes as low as just 31.8pc for unskilled workers such as cleaners.

And 86pc of professionals with children are married compared to just 63.6pc of unskilled workers. The remainder are either cohabiting or parenting alone.

The 'Mind The Gap' report, compiled by the Iona Institute, states that the "most socially disadvantaged are the least likely to marry".

The least likely people to get married are working in sales and customer services occupations.

Mangers, directors and senior officials are most likely to exchange vows.

The one major anomaly in the study is plant and machinery operatives, who are among the most likely to get married despite being ranked as having low incomes.

Overall the number of couples marrying has declined massively over the past three decades.

Psychiatrist Professor Patricia Casey told the Irish Independent that poverty is a major barrier to getting married as many people don't want to commit to a partner and possible family.

She said the report raises the need for significantly more research in the area as there are a number of "worrying" signs.

"Social disadvantage clearly diminishes a person's chances of marrying and not marrying in turn increases the odds of remaining socially disadvantaged.

"It's a vicious circle and it is one that obviously affects children," she said.

Ms Casey said that all socio-economic groups aspire to get married but financial reasons play a big role in their decision-making.

"People want all of their finances in order before they get married," she said, adding that the trend is repeated across Europe.

The figures are based on an analysis of Census data and the CSO's National Quarterly Household Survey and show the largest decline in the percentages of people getting married has occurred in urban areas.

In Cork, Dublin and Galway, under 40pc of adults were married in 2011 compared around 50pc in 1986.

The percentage for rural Ireland is 58.7pc.

The report says the decline in the popularity of marriage is "contrary to the popular impression".

The number of births outside marriage was about one-in-20 in 1986 and is now around one- in-three.

It notes that marriage breakdown in Ireland is still low by EU standards.

"Last year we had a big debate about the nature of marriage. Whatever our disagreements about that, those on both sides of that debate ought to be able to agree that the big marriage divide which exists between the social classes ought to be a matter of grave concern, and a matter of concern for our politicians and other policy-makers especially," Ms Casey said.

"It should be a matter of consistent public debate, as it is for some other issues, such as the gender pay gap."

Irish Independent

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