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Lone parent families with dependent children in UK near two million

Released: 19 January 2012 Download PDF

Lone parent families with dependent children in UK near two million

Date: 19 January 2012.
Coverage:  United Kingdom   Theme: Population

The number of lone parent families with dependent children in the UK is on the verge of the two million mark for the first time, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed today.

The changing pattern of family formation in the 21st Century is reflected in a sharp increase in cohabitation which is approaching three million couples while the number of marriages has continued to decline.

The number of opposite sex cohabiting couples in the UK was 2.9 million in 2011 compared with 2.1 million in 2001, while at the same time the number of married or civil partner couples dropped from 12.3 million to 12.1 million. Lone parents with dependent children were 2.0 million (rounded from 1.96) in 2011 compared with 1.7 million at the turn of the century.

These changes were revealed today in the bulletin Families and households in the UK, 2001 to 2011, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This bulletin presents annual statistics on the number of families by type, people in families by family type and children in families by type. A family is a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children, or a lone parent with at least one child.

Other statistics revealed include,
• In 2011:38 per cent of cohabiting couple families had dependent children, the same percentage as married couple families
• there were 7.6 million married or civil partner couples without dependent children
• same sex cohabiting couple families stood at 63,000.

The number of married couple families showed a statistically significant decrease by 262,000 to 12.0 million in 2011. These figures are consistent with both the decrease in the number of marriages since the early 1970s and with the statistically significant increase in opposite sex cohabiting couples between 2001 and 2011 from 2.1 million to 2.9 million.

Further details can be seen in the families and households bulletin and summary about lone parents on the ONS website.

Background notes

  1. The Labour Force Survey, a large household survey of people in the UK, is used to provide estimates about UK families and households presented in this news release.

  2. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
    © Crown copyright 2012.

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