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Variety is now the spice of mid-life
The characteristics of mid-life have seen big changes over recent decades, according to a report published by the Office for National Statistics.
The study finds that people’s experiences of mid-life – defined as the period between 45 and 64 – are much more varied now than in previous decades. Changes in partnership formation, patterns of family life and employment have meant that people can expect to see more differences between their lifestyles and those of their peers than they might have thirty years ago.
Fewer people in the mid-life age group now have a child or grandchild than they did ten years ago, but more still have a parent or grandparent alive. Meanwhile those who do have children are more likely in early mid-life to still have dependent children living with them than those 25 years ago.
More people in mid-life, particularly men, are now living alone – this may be related to the fact that fewer people in mid-life are married, and more are divorced. However, the overall socio-economic position of the middle-aged has improved, particularly for women, and the gap between men and women has narrowed.
Research has also shown that men and women now enter their first partnership about two years later, on average, than in the early 1980s. Marriage is five years later, on average, with the additional delay due both to the growth in the frequency of cohabitation before marriage and to couples living together for longer before their first marriage.
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