LOVE is in the air in Fermanagh. According to a new study Fermanagh has the highest marriage rate in the North with fewer people choosing to cohabit than in other areas.
Data from 2017 analysed by Belfast-based solicitors Mackenzie and Dorman has shown that Fermanagh had the highest marriage rate per head of the population, equating to 0.61 percent.
During the year over 700 marriages took place in the Fermanagh and Omagh council area.
Colin Bates of the Belfast firm explained marriage rates have been dropping as more couples now opt to live together rather than make a legal commitment.
“The high marriage rate in Fermanagh could be due to more traditional views held in rural parts of the country, or simply an effect of the lower divorce rate in the area.
“Fermanagh ranked among the areas with the lowest divorce rates in a previous study, and therefore it stands to reason that a higher number of successful marriages would encourage others to marry as well.”
Although the survey found that the youngest brides and grooms were found in Mid-Ulster, with grooms, on average, aged 33, and brides 31, figures obtained by the Herald suggested that the age of marriage in Fermanagh has fallen for two consecutive years with the Church of Ireland in Enniskillen, for example, reporting an average age of 26 so far in 2019.
Statistics released by the Central Statistics Office outline that over a quarter of opposite-sex couples are choosing a civil marriage over the past year. However, religious ceremonies are still holding strong. Over half of all weddings over the past year either classified as Catholic, Church of Ireland or other religious.
Marriage rates peaked in the North in the 1940s at 7.6% with similar highs of 7.2% in the 1960s and 70s. Most recent figures, however, show an overall decline in marriages with a rate of 4.6% during the last decade.
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Posted: 1:30 pm November 6, 2019