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ONS releases statistics on family structure

A recent statistical release from the Office for National Statistics on trends in family structure has revealed that;

  • The number of opposite sex cohabiting couples has increased, from 1.5 million in 1996 to 2.9 million in 2012. The number of dependent children living in these opposite sex cohabiting couple families also increased, doubling from 0.9 million to 1.8 million in the same period.
  • The most common family type in 2012 is a married or civil partner couple without dependent children, accounting for 7.6 million out of a total of 18.2 million families in the UK. The second most common family type is a married or civil partner couple with dependent children, of which there are 4.6 million.
  • There are 12.2 million married couple families in the UK, a decrease of 457,000 since 1996. This is consistent with the trend of decreasing marriage numbers seen since the early 1970s.
  • Lone parents with dependent children represent 26% of all families with dependent children in 2012. There are nearly 2.0 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK, a figure which has grown from 1.6 million in 1996.
  • There are an estimated 69,000 families consisting of a same sex cohabiting couple and an additional 66,000 civil partnered couples, a number which has steadily increased since the introduction of civil partnerships in the UK in December 2005.
  • There are 26.4 million households in the UK in 2012. Of these, 29% consist of only one person and almost 20% consist of four or more people.
  • 7.6 million people in UK households live alone in 2012, of which 4.2 million are aged 16 to 64. Of those in this age group, the majority (58%) are male. For those aged 65 or over, the pattern is reversed; at this age the majority of people living alone (69%) are female.


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