Poorer couples value marriage too

Poorer couples place just as much value on marriage as their more affluent counterparts, new research has suggested. Published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, the study found people with lower incomes also set similar romantic standards for wedlock.

Investigators from the University of California Los Angeles have therefore shown government attempts to strengthen unions in less well-off communities should switch from a promotion of marriage values to a focus on the real-life issues poor couples have to contend with.

According to the findings, low-income participants in the study held more traditional views on serious relationships than those who take home much larger sums.

Dr Thomas Trail of the learning institute stated: "We found that people with low incomes value marriage as an institution, have similar standards for choosing a marriage partner and experience similar problems with managing their relationships."

He added any attempts to boost marriage ideals among the poor should consider wider social issues, as these can be a source of stress for a marriage.

Dr Pauline Rennie Peyton, a Chartered Psychologist, said: "It is not surprising that couples from lower income groups put equal emphasis on the institution of marriage as their wealthier neighbours.

"Social pressure and peer pressure plays a large part in couples wanting to be 'normal' in their group.

"Apart from the sometimes huge cost of the actual wedding it can be a financial advantage to share the costs of accommodation and utilities which is an advantage to the lower paid.

"There is also the added fact that religion plays a role in some couples decision to be married, no matter what their socio economic group."