Cohabiting couples fastest growing family type

ONS statistics reveal cohabiting couple families growing fastest, while married and civil-partner families remain most common

Cohabitants the fastest growing family type

Latest statistics from the ONS in the Families and Households Statistical Bulletin reveals that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type. According to statistician Emily Knipe of the Population Statistics Division, Office for National Statistics:

“In 2017, the most common family type in the UK was the married or civil partner couple family (12.9 million families). 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.”

For the purposes of this bulletin, the definition of family is:

“A family is a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children, or a lone parent, with at least one child, who live at the same address. Children may be dependent or non-dependent.”

While married or civil-partnered couple families were the most common, cohabiting families were the fastest growing, which may reflect an increasing trend to live together before formal partnership.

Cohabiting couples do not have the same legal protections as common law marriage is not recognised in UK law. If you have any questions about the rights of cohabiting couples, please contact a member of our Family Law team.

The full bulletin is available here and a summary article from Family Law Week is available here.