The number of brides and grooms, aged 65 and over, increased by 46% in 2014. More than half of men, aged 65 and over, married a woman under 65 and only 22% of women aged 65, and over, married a man under 65. The first marriages of same sex couples took place in 2014, with only 2.4% of men and 0.8% of women being 65 and over.
In England and Wales, there was a 28% overall fall in the number of opposite sex divorces between 2005 and 2015. In the same period, the number of aged 65 plus men divorcing increased by 23% and the number of aged 65 plus women divorcing increased by 38%.
The likely explanation for the increase in older people ending and forming new relationships is that they are living longer, and they are better ‘connected’, economically and socially, than before. They are also catching up with younger people in their use of the internet, opening up a new world to them, and enabling them to, amongst other things, online date.
There are also practical reasons for older couples deciding to marry, one being the substantial change to inheritance tax rules made in October 2007, enabling couples to transfer their tax-free allowances between each other.
People are living longer, the gap between male and female life expectancy is closing and older people are forming relationships later in life. All this is likely to mean that people aged 65, and over, are more likely to be living with a partner than on their own. For our society this should mean that fewer widows and widowers will be living for long periods of time alone. Hopefully, as a result, this will reduce loneliness and will benefit relatives and society as a whole.