National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Marriage/Divorce and Household Change

Marriage/Divorce and Household Change

Chafetz (1995) has argued that it is too simplistic to attribute the changes observed in household trends to the consequences of the feminist movement, given that many of the observed changes pre-date World War II. However, the increasing independence and choice for women in their education and career has had at least a partial effect on the changes observed in households, driven by the rise in the number of divorces, the decrease in the number of marriages, the increase in the age of first marriage and increased age of first birth.

The decrease in marriage and rise in divorce in Scotland over the last 30 years will also have contributed to the changing composition of Scotland’s households. However, there is a continuing debate about whether the advent of equal rights for men and women has resulted in the changes witnessed in the numbers of marriages and divorces over the last 30 years and thus household size and structure in Scotland (Scott, 1999).

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