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More couples opting for pacs

Three couples are setting up lives together in a pacs for every four couples who are getting married

THE pacte civil de solidarité or pacs is gaining ground on marriage as the preferred option for couples living together ; today, there are three pacs for every four marriages.

Figures released to coincide with St Valentine’s Day show however, that only three per cent of those aged between 18 and 39 are pacsed and the proportion of such partnerships is strongest in the 27-31 age group at seven per cent.

While the number of marriages has been dropping by one per cent a year for the past 10 years, the study by statistical body Insee showed that, last year, there were one million people in France in a pacs of which the overwhelming majority, 94 per cent, were heterosexual.

Half of the couples aged 18-39 in a pacs have no children, as against just 15 per cent of childless married couples.

The pacs is favoured by overwhelmingly French-born couples; only two per cent involve different nationalities, although 10 per cent of married couples are of different nationality.

Sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann told Le Figaro that pacs and marriage corresponded to different phases of life. “We are living in times where we still dream of marriage but fear disappearing as a person, to vanish into the couple, to lose our youth and our freedom. The pacs lets people live as free as a bird.”

The average age for getting married has been rising over the past 30 years and now stands at 30 for women and 32 for men.

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