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16 September 2013

Public no longer believe that marriage is 'the foundation stone of family life'

The belief that couples should ideally get married before starting a family has effectively collapsed within a generation, the British Social Attitudes survey, the longest running and most authoritative barometer of public opinion in the UK, shows, as reported in The Telegraph.

Only a minority of people now view marriage as the starting point for bringing up children, with support for that view almost halving in less than 25 years.

The wide-ranging study, which is in its 30th year, also revealed a dramatic shift in attitudes toward sex, politics, economics, and issues such as welfare and Britain’s relationship with Europe since it first began in the early 1980s.

But some of the most dramatic changes are in the area of family and relationships, with views once classed as permissive now becoming the norm.

Moral disapproval of matters such as sex outside marriage and homosexuality has fallen sharply since the Thatcher era, it shows.

That has been accompanied by profound decline in religious attachment, with only a minority of people in the UK now identifying themselves as Christians, despite the effects of immigration which has boosted Church attendance.

But in some areas of family life traditional morality is more strongly held than ever, with disapproval of adultery higher now than a generation ago.

The survey, conducted by NatCen, a social research group, and funded by government departments and charities, is based on detailed interviews with more than 3,000 people who were asked the same set of questions about life in Britain as the study has posed for three decades.

Read more on this story here.