AFAIK, every one of the Cabinet is married. By contrast, amongst 40-64 year-olds generally, only 68.4% are married. 15.3% are divorced and 13.5% are single.
This means that if the marital status of the Cabinet were representative of the general population, six or seven would be divorced or single. In fact, none are. There’s only a one in 2500 chance that this would happen by pure luck.
What’s more, only two Cabinet ministers (Lansley and Warsi, I believe) have been divorced. But statisticians estimate that 45% of marriages will end (pdf) in divorce.
So, what is it about government ministers that means they are more uxorious than the general populace? Here are some theories:
1. The same features that cause success in politics make people attractive marriage prospects. I’m sceptical of this. The Cabinet includes Eric Pickles and Michael Gove. Yes, married men tend to be more successful than unmarrieds, but this effect seems stronger at the lower end of the earnings distribution, not the higher. Are all top investment bankers, or top doctors (say) married? Surely not. There is, then, something odd about politics.
2. Ambitious politicians know that singlehood or divorce is bad for their career, and so will avoid it. Alternatively, single politicians just don’t rise to the top. This just raises the question: why would there be so strong a bias against the non-marrieds in politics when there isn't elsewhere?*
3. Successful politicians’ have skills which make them likely to stay married. They are good at communicating, compromising and suppressing their individuality in the interests of other goals. They are also unusually capable of enduring dull people.
4. Politicians meet lots of people, so they are more likely to meet Mr or Ms Right.
5. Successful politicians are an easily recognisable type of person - and a type that doesn‘t change much over time - so their partners don’t suffer the information problems that can cause a bad match. It’s hard to imagine the spouse of a Cabinet minister leaving them on the grounds that “you’re not the person I married.”
Whatever explanation one favours - feel free to add others - there is a puzzle here. The fact that all Cabinet ministers are married is a new feature; the Blair and Thatcher governments contained several divorcees (Cook, Blunkett, Nigella’s dad). Is this difference just accidental, or is there some significance in it?
And, indeed, should we worry that the government is unrepresentative in this respect?
* Actually, one significant exception here is the Daily Mail. Paul Dacre, allegedly, has a strong preference for his senior employees to be married.