Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm

Cohabitation in the UK has almost doubled in 16 years

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.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. JamesB says:

    Makes sense, as it’s the only way to avoid the horror of the 1973 Divorce Ancillary Relief Act and the horror of the County Court and it’s crazy Judges upon divorce.

  2. Yvie says:

    There will also be a number of people who are cohabiting but have not declared it.

Leave a comment

Help & advice categories


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

What type of information are you looking for?

Privacy Policy