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The very real benefits of getting married

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Couples who are married or have entered into a civil partnership are more likely to be happy, new figures show.

A higher proportion of married couples report a “very high rating” of life satisfaction compared with others in relationships and single people, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures, which cover the period between 2011 and 2014, found 34.7 per cent of people who are married or in a civil partnership rate their life satisfaction as either a nine or a 10 out of 10, compared with 28.9 per cent of those who are widowed or live with their partner.

Perhaps unsurprisingly only 19.5 per cent of people who were separated or divorced rated their life satisfaction as “very high”, while 21.9 per cent of single people described themselves as very satisfied.

Overall, the ONS found that “national well-being has improved” across 17 areas where data is collected, including rates of unemployment and crime, as well as healthy life expectancy and household income.

But satisfaction has fallen or remained the same across 19 other areas, including health and leisure time, suggesting that Britain is still working through the effects of the 2008-09 recession. There will also be disappointment that adult participation in sport has fallen despite the London 2012 Olympics falling within the survey period.

“In many parts of our society life in the UK is improving, but we don’t necessarily feel that they are,” said ONS director of well-being Glenn Everett.

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