The number of people living together in the UK without getting married has almost doubled since 1996, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Its latest statistical bulletin on figures relating to families and households reveals that there are currently 2.9 million heterosexual cohabiting couples in the UK, compared to only 1.5 million such couples living together in 1996.
The number of dependent children living in unmarried heterosexual couples has also doubled over the same period of time; from 0.9 million to 1.8 million.
The bulletin notes:
“The number of married couple families decreased by 457,000 between 1996 and 2012, to 12.2 million in 2012. This reduction is statistically significant. It is also consistent with both the decrease in the number of marriages since the early 1970s, and the statistically significant increase in opposite sex cohabiting couple families between 1996 and 2012, from 1.5 million to 2.9 million. In 2012 there were an estimated 69,000 families consisting of a same sex cohabiting couple and 66,000 consisting of a civil partnered couple, the latter having steadily increased since the introduction of civil partnerships in the UK in December 2005.”