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The changing shape of society

Statistics showing the changing shape of society over sixty years have been released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The ONS has compared data from 1952 with data from 2012 (or the nearest year available) to show how life has been transformed in England and Wales. The data shows that:

  • There were 673,735 live births in England and Wales in 1952, rising to 723,165 in 2010.
  • 4.8% of live births took place outside marriage in 1952, compared to 46.8% (outside marriage or civil partnership) in 2010.
  • According to the ONS, the mean age of mothers at childbirth was 28.1 years in 1952, compared to 29.5 years in 2010.
  • In 1952 there were 349,308 marriages (including 281,738 first marriages for both parties) in England and Wales. This figure fell to a provisional 241,100 (158,980 first marriages) in 2010.
  • There were 33,922 divorces in England and Wales in 1952, rising to 119,589 in 2010.


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