Cohabitation and remaining single is on the rise but marriage is declining

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The Office of National Statistics has reported that cohabitation is on the rise but marriage is declining. The percentage of people aged 16 or over entering a marriage in England and Wales has declined by a small margin. In 2002 54.8% of the population was married however this has now dropped to 50.6% in 2015. Cohabitation is now common as an alternative to marriage for couples, with cohabitation figures now rising to 9.5% in 2015 from 6.8% in 2002.

Pamela Cobb, from the Office for National Statistics, said: “Just over half of the population aged 16 and over were married in 2015. This figure has steadily declined since 2002, which could be associated with a rise in cohabiting amongst those who have never married or formed a civil partnership.”

More people are also choosing to remain single than become cohabitants, civil partners or enter into a marriage. Statistics show that in 2002 29.6% were single but this increased to 34.5% in 2015 which would suggest remaining single is a common trend as well.

Resolution spokesman Graeme Fraser said: “These statistics should be regarded by policymakers as a wake-up call that cohabitation is a trend of modern society that is not going to go away.”

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