London: Call it declining social values or diminishing faith in the institution of marriage, Britain is faced with the reality of witnessing a record number of childbirths outside wedlock in the present time, suggests a study.

According to a research conducted by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) more children are born outside marriage today than at any other point in the last 200 years in Britain.

The proportion of couples living together without tying the knot has also grown from less than five percent before 1945 to a whopping 90 percent in the present time, a newspaper reported.

Historical documents show births outside marriage in Britain and Wales hovered around the five percent level in the 1750s, with spikes during the two world wars, before rising steadily from the 1960s onwards.

By the late 1970s the figure was more than 10 percent, rising to 30 percent by 1991 and reaching 45 percent today, says CSJ.
 
The report's authors, Rebecca Probert of Warwick University and Samantha Callan of the CSJ, argued that the facts do not bear out claims that rates of cohabitation outside marriage were high in the early 20th century.

(Agencies)