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Home » Advice Centre » News: 2010 vs 2016 – How families and households are changing in the UK?

News: 2010 vs 2016 – How families and households are changing in the UK?

Posted on: 20 February 2017 by Goodwins Family Law Solicitors

A recent survey by the Office for National Statistics has highlighted ways in which UK ‘family types’ are changing, in particular that the number of unmarried, cohabiting couples is continuing to rise. The survey encompassed 18.9 million families, and a number of the statistics are detailed in this handy infographic from Goodwins Family Law Solicitors.


All Families

The total number of families has increased to 18.9 million from 18.1 million in 2010, an increase of over 800,000. ‘Family’, in this instance, is defined by Webster’s Law Dictionary as “a group of individuals who share ties of blood, marriage or adoption; a group residing together and consisting of parents, children, and other relatives by blood or marriage; or a group of individuals who have consented to an arrangement similar to ties of blood or marriage”.

The most common family type in the survey is married and civil partnership families, making up 12.7 million – an increase on the 12.3 million in 2010. This figure includes families with and without children. There are 4.8 million married or civil partnership couples with dependent children, and 7.9 million married or civil partnership couples without children.

Cohabiting couples

In total, opposite sex and same sex cohabiting couples total 3.3 million, a rise of over half a million from 2010. The 2010 forecast was for the number of cohabiting couples to reach 3.3 million by 2033, but as the figures show, the increase has been much larger and quicker than expected, with the 3 million mark being surpassed within three years of the initial prediction and the 3.3 million mark being reached much earlier than expected.

A cohabitation is usually used to refer to a situation where an unmarried opposite sex or same sex couple live together on a long term or permanent basis. These arrangements, as the figures show, are now much more common than they were even a few years ago, owing to a number of factors including changes in social views. There have been renewed calls for statutory cohabitation rights, with the Cohabitation Rights Bill in the early stages of being passed through Parliament.

Civil Partnerships

Civil partnerships have seen an overall increase in the last five years rising from 45,000 in 2010, to 47,000 in 2015. However, in 2012, the number rose dramatically to 67,000, before it experienced a relatively large drop to the current figure of 47,000.

Single parent families

The number of single parent families remained at 2.9 million in 2016.

As well as highlighting the change in ‘family types’, the survey also showed a large number of young adults are yet to leave their family home. 40% of Britons between 15-34 years old still lived with their parents at the time of the survey.

The figures taken from this survey varies every year, and new laws are passed, such as the Cohabitation Rights Bill. It is likely that we will see more fluctuation in the statistics after the next survey is taken.


Goodwins Family Law Solicitors

We are a leading family law firm based in Harrow, London, offering expertise in all aspects of family law, including divorce, international divorce, child custody and financial settlements. If you would like to know more about ours services, either contact our team or find out more information here.

Goodwins Family Law Solicitors is a registered company in England. © Goodwins Family Law Solicitors 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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