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Number of opposite sex cohabiting couples has doubled since 1996

ONS figures reveal the changing nature of family life in the UK

The number of opposite sex cohabiting couple families has increased significantly, according to the latest statistical bulletin on families and households released by the Office for National Statistics.

In 1996 there were 1.5 million such couples. That has risen to 2.9 million in 2012. The number of dependent children living in opposite sex cohabiting couple families doubled from 0.9 million to 1.8 million over the same period.

In 2012 there were 18.2 million families in the UK. Of these, 12.2 million consisted of a married couple with or without children. 38 per cent of married couple families had dependent children, compared with 39 per cent of opposite sex cohabiting couple families.

There were nearly 2.0 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK in 2012, a figure which has grown steadily but significantly from 1.6 million in 1996.

There were 26.4 million households in the UK in 2012. Of these, 29 per cent consisted of only one person and almost 20 per cent consisted of four or more people.

The statistical bulletin can be read here.