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Increasing number of Czechs prefer common-law marriage to real one

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Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) – The number of Czech couples living in common-law relationship, i.e. officially unmarried, has been rising in the Czech Republic, daily Pravo writes Thursday, referring to data from the Czech Statistical Office (CSU).

In 1930, the statistics registered about 40,000 common-law marriage couples in the then Czechoslovakia.

Their number rose to 58,000 in 1970 and 85,000 in 1991, Pravo writes.

The census in 2001 showed as many as 125,000 common-law couples in the Czech Republic, a country with 10.5 million inhabitants.

The following census ten years later registered 234,346 such couples, Pravo writes.

Only 45,137 official marriages were concluded in the same year, it adds.

In 2011, the number of families of common-law couples was the highest (13.9 percent) in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants and in the westernmost Karlovy Vary Region (14.6 percent), followed by Prague (14.4 percent) and the northern region of Usti nad Labem (14.2 percent).

Their number was the lowest in small villages with fewer than 200 inhabitants (8.6 percent), and the south Moravian regions of Vysocina (7.9 percent) and Zlin (8.3 percent), Pravo writes.

In recent years, the number of weddings oscillated between 40,000 and 50,000 a year, about a half of their number in the 1990s, the paper writes.

Of the common-law couples, 42.1 percent consist of partners who are both single, and 26.8 percent consist of partners who are both either divorced or widowed.

The third largest group are the common-law couples comprised of a single man and a divorced or widowed woman (11.8 percent).

In 2011, over a half of common-law couples involved people aged from 25 to 39 (52.1 percent of men and 53.7 percent of women).

The reasons why people shun official marriage include their effort to keep more personal freedom, career ambitions, fear of responsibility and fear of disappointment, a CSU study showed, Pravo writes.

Another frequent reason is money. The people do not want to manage the household jointly and they are afraid of possible debts of their partners.

The household is financially managed jointly by 67 percent of all married couples, but only less than a half of common-law couples, the statistics showed.

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