Cohabiting couples ‘second largest family type’

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Cohabiting couples are now the second largest family type in the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced.

In a newly published analysis of current social trends, the ONS notes that couples who live together without getting married have also become the fastest growing family type.

According to the report, there are now 19 million families of all types in the UK: a remarkable 2.4 million – or 15 per cent – more than in 1996. Of those, 12.9 million are based around couples who are either married or in a civil partnership.

Meanwhile, the number of families based around a cohabiting couple has reached 3.3 million – more than twice the number in 1996, when there were just 1.5 million.

Nevertheless, people aged 16 to 64 living alone still outnumber those living informally with partners. This year there were 3.9 million of them the ONS reports. The majority – 58.5 per cent – were men. A very similar number  of people aged 65 or over – 3.8 million – live alone, but a significant majority of these were women (66.5 per cent).

Emily Knipe of the ONS Population Statistics Division said:

“Opposite sex couples were most likely to be in married couple families whereas same sex couples were most likely to be in cohabiting couple families. This is likely to be because civil partnerships and marriages between same sex couples in particular, are relatively new legal union statuses.”

The report is entitled Families and Households in the UK 2017. You can read it here.

Photo by Dave Emmett via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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