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An Insight into UK Family Structure

The Office for National Statistics has recently published statistics that give an interesting insight into the most common household types and family structures that existed in the UK during 2014.

According to the figures, there were 18.6 million families in the UK in 2014, of which 12.5 million were married or civil partnership couple families, making this the most common family type in the UK.

However, the fastest growing type of family is apparently the cohabiting couple family, which has grown by 29.7% since 2004. In 2014 there were nearly 3.0 million opposite sex cohabiting couple families and 84,000 same sex cohabiting couple families in the UK, and together they account for 16.4% of all families.

Interestingly, although there is no such thing as common law marriage in UK law, 51% of respondents to the British Social Attitudes Survey in 2008 thought that unmarried couples who live together for some time probably or definitely had a 'common law marriage' which gives them the same legal rights as married couples, although this is not legally the case.

The figures have also revealed that there were nearly 2.0 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK in 2014, a figure which has grown from 1.9 million in 2004. Lone parents with dependent children apparently represented 25% of all families with dependent children in 2014, which is similar to the numbers recorded in 2004.

In 2014, women accounted for 91% of lone parents with dependent children and men the remaining 9%. These percentages have changed little over the previous decade. The ONS explains that this is because women are more likely to take the main caring responsibilities for any children when relationships break down, and therefore become lone parents. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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