For the sixth consecutive year, the number of divorces in England and Wales have fallen and have reached their lowest level since 1974.

The U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that there were 113,949 divorces in 2009, a 6.4 percent drop from the prior year. Overall, the number of divorces have steadily been falling from a high of 153,065 in 2003.

Also, the divorce rate also slipped to 10.5 people per 1,000 of those married in 2009 - from 11.2 per 1,000 the previous year - the lowest such rate since 1977 when the rate was 10.3 per 1,000.

In addition, the average age for divorce has edged up for both men and women, to 44 and 41.5, respectively in 2009.

The median duration of marriage for divorces granted in 2009 was 11.4 years, slightly below from 11.5 years in 2008 and an increase from 10.5 years in 1999.

The highest divorce rate was found among people in their late twenties – here, the rate amounted to 21.7 men and 25.1 women per 1,000 married people.

Just below half of the couples divorcing in 2009 had at least one child aged under 16. In all, there were 99,543 children aged under 16 who were in families where the parents divorced that year, a 33 percent decrease from 1999 when there were 147,721 children.

However, ONS data also reveal that the percentage of marriages ending in divorce has generally increased for those marrying between the late 1960s and the early 1990s.

For example, 20 percent of marriages in 1969 had ended by the fifteenth wedding anniversary, whereas 33 percent of marriages in 1994 had ended after the same period of time.