Coastal resorts 'divorce hotspots'

This Is Lancashire: Hastings is one of the divorce hotspots, figures suggest. Hastings is one of the divorce hotspots, figures suggest.

People who live near the seaside may be more prone to divorce, a new report suggests.

The divorce hot spots of England and Wales are all coastal areas, according to a new Office for National Statistics (ONS) report.

The local authority with the highest proportion of divorcees was Blackpool where 13.1% of the population were divorced , the latest census figures show.

In Hastings 12.8% of people were divorced while 12.2% of those in Torbay had been through a marriage breakdown.

Weymouth and Portland, Thanet, the Isle of Wight, Gosport, Eastbourne, Great Yarmouth and Worthing also made up the top 10 places with the highest proportions of divorced people.

"The top 10 were all in coastal areas, and mainly on the South coast of England apart from Blackpool and Great Yarmouth," the report states.

"Higher levels of divorced population may relate to the affordability of housing and living costs in some of these areas resulting in divorced people with reduced economic assets living there."

Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of relationship charity Relate, added: " There could be many reasons why coastal areas of the UK see a higher divorce rate. Moving to the coast during retirement is a popular choice, but leaving established networks of friends and family can put a strain on relationships - so this could be one of the factors.

"Also, some areas have been hit hard by the recession and we know that money worries can put strain on relationships. In fact, a recent Relate survey found that money is the biggest single cause of arguments, so it could be that economic difficulties are having an impact on relationships in these areas.

"Wherever we live and whatever stage of life we're at, it's important to prioritise building strong personal relationships throughout life because they will see us through good times and bad."

Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said: "Mediation works in helping to sort out disputes over finances and children. We are committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.

"When people divorce we want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children. That is why we want them to use the excellent mediation services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them in the courts."

The figures also suggest that t he number of singletons is on the rise.

Over the last decade the number of single people in England and Wales has increased from 12.5 million to 15.7 million, with singletons now accounting for 35% of the population.

When broken down by local authority, London had eight of the 10 areas which are home to the highest proportions of single people.

Islington had the highest number of single people, with 60% of its population saying that they had never been married or been in a civil partnership.

"These high proportions reflect the younger age structure of London compared to other regions," the ONS said.

The census figures show that nearly half of the adult population were married or in a civil partnership.

Penny Mansfield, director of relationship charity OnePlusOne, said: "What this shows is that people are less inclined to get married, certainly in the younger age group.

"It's a very different picture compared with the 1970s and 1980s when getting into a serious long-term relationship or getting married represented a transition into adulthood. That's no longer the case, so people put it off.

"We know that the benefits of being in a good quality relationship result in better mental and physical health and yet the interesting thing is that young people are more and more uncertain about making a commitment."

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