Marriage on the up in Scotland for the first time in years


By Christine Lavelle

SCOTLAND’S marriage rate has seen a “rare increase”, compared to figures this time last year, and after falling consecutively for five years.

And a relationship expert has said that this is a sign that Scots are going back to more traditional values.

In the second quarter of 2010, the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) recorded 8,288 marriages, up 411 for the same period during 2009.

Since 2005, the number of newlyweds for this period has been dropping consistently, from 8,633 to 7,877 in 2009 – but these figures have taken an upward turn.

The results were published today by the Registrar General for Scotland, and included information on births, deaths and civil partnerships.

The GROS collects the underlying data on a daily basis, as and when each event is registered.

And, the marriage rate could be set to continue rising, as the third quarter of each year has traditionally seen the highest number of couples tying the knot – with no fewer than 11,000 people getting hitched during the third quarter of any year in the past decade.

While marriages seem to be on the up, the number of civil partnerships registered in the quarter is 18 less than that of 2009.

Last year 62 men committed themselves to civil partnerships, falling to 53 during the same period this year, and the number of women obtaining the certificate has also dropped by nine from 83 to 74.

Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland, said: “Today’s figures show a rare increase in the number of marriages in Scotland, although marriage rates fluctuate through the year and quarterly data can’t be taken as indicative of the year ahead.”

Marion Laird, head of services at Scottish Marriage Care in Glasgow, said the reason for the increase in marriages could be down to people looking to go back to more traditional values.

She said: “I think people are looking for more commitment – people do seem to really want their relationships to work.

“Many couples now live together before deciding to get married, and taking those vows is a way to deepen the commitment they have already made, and it is a way to show it publicly.

“I wonder if we are shifting back to different values, as many couples I speak to are keen to be married before having children – which had up until recently been becoming a lot less common.”

Ms Laird said many married couples have been seeking guidance throughout the ongoing recession, and that it can pose a real problem for many.

She said: “People who are worried about losing their job can bring the strain home with them.

“They will also feel as though they should be at work more so spend much longer hours there in order to keep their employment.

“And for families with children this type of behaviour can have an effect on everyone involved.”

Even though more people have been getting married in the second quarter of this year, less have been giving birth.

14,743 births were registered between April and June in 2010 – 173 fewer than in the same period last year.

However, taking the first two quarters of the year together, the number of births is slightly higher than in the first six months of 2009.