Marriages have fallen drastically in most major European countries over the past decade, influenced by a number of factors.Coronations have fallen to historic lows in France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Greece, Denmark and Britain.
The most “scary” example is in Italy, where there were less than 200 thousand marriages last year, the lowest number since the First World War.
“The fall has been beyond all expectations. There are cultural and economic reasons for this phenomenon”, said the head of the institute in Italy, Antonio Golini. According to him, marriage has become less important from a religious and civil point of view, because many young people live together without getting married.
But there are also economic reasons because marriage costs a lot.
So in a time of crisis like this, people choose to cohabit [unmarried].
A study this year found that almost half of people aged 18-30 in Europe still live with their parents, the number one reason of course being the high cost of rent. Experts say that this phenomenon is also hitting birth rates hard. The record is held by 40-year-olds who are still unmarried.
The decline in marriage rates in Greece has been exacerbated by the country’s debt crisis, say sociologists. Changing lifestyles and behavioral patterns as much as economic pressures have been the causes of the decline. More than 60% of Greek youth are unemployed, the highest level in the EU.
“Since many of them have difficult access to a well-paid job without long hours of unpaid overtime, they are not inclined to commit to the obligations of marriage and do so if and when pregnancy occurs,” Aliki said. Mouriki, at the National Center for Social Research.
The decline is not limited to “old Europe”. Last year, the number of weddings in Poland fell to its lowest level since 1945, with 43% of 25-34-year-olds still living with their parents. Witold Wrzesien, a sociologist, said young Poles today want “independence without responsibility.
They want to be treated with the respect given to adults, staying under the safety of their parents’ arms and not taking any risks.”