The secret to a successful marriage?

ringsSimple, live in Dorset. In Wimborne Minster, East Dorset, six out of ten adults are married.

That's the highest proportion of married couples in England and Wales and twice the number in big cities like Manchester and some of London's inner boroughs.

So, what does this market town five miles north of Poole have that ensures that the vow of 'until death do us part' really sticks?

Wimborne Minster has a population of 15,000, was once home to Thomas Hardy and is set between the beautiful countryside of the New Forest and the Dorset coast, which could contribute to the town's appeal.

David Plumtree of estate agency Barnard Marcus, which compiled the results of the most married and divorced districts based on figures from the 2011 national census, told the Daily Mail: "East Dorset is the marriage hot spot of the country."

"This rural idyll is an especially attractive place to live because of its romantic landscape ... and its relaxed pace of life."
The combination of country living and rural scenery certainly seems to be working as in the town and the surrounding East Dorset district, 59.4 per cent of adults are married, compared with 25.6 per cent in Islington, 27.4 in Hackney, 29.4 in Southwark and 29.7 in Manchester.

Other most-married districts included Amersham in Buckinghamshire and the surrounding Chiltern district at 58.5 per cent, followed by Hart in Hampshire with 58.4 per cent.

However, the 2011 census also showed that overall marriage rates have dropped from 50.9 per cent in 2001 to 46.6 per cent. The Guardian reported that married couple households are in a minority for the first time and, while the number of married people stayed constant at 21.2 million, the number of single adults rose by three million.

Hastings topped the list of most divorced districts in the report with 16.5 per cent, closely followed by Blackpool where 16.3 per cent of the population has seen their marriage disintegrate. Other seaside towns fared similarly with Margate at 15.2 per cent, Torbay at 14.8 and Weymouth/Portland with 14.7 per cent.

According to The Relationship Foundation, divorce costs each UK taxpayer £1,470 per year and costs the state an estimated £44 billion per year in total.

See our related stories below for advice on the cost and financial implications of divorce.

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