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Proportion of the population who are married has decreased by 3.9 per cent since 2002

51 per cent of population (over 16) married

The Office for National Statistics has published population estimates for 2016 by legal marital status and cohabitation status by age and sex for England and Wales.

The ONS says that there were 24.1 million people in England and Wales who were married in 2016; this was 50.9% of the population aged 16 and over. Around 0.2% of the married population were in a marriage between same-sex couples; a larger proportion of this population were male (57.7%) compared with female (42.3%). A larger percentage of the population in England (51.1%) were married in 2016 compared with Wales (50.1%).

The majority (61.0%) of the population aged 16 and over in England and Wales were living in a couple in 2016. Those who were not living in a couple were most likely to be single, never married or civil partnered.

In 2002, people who were "cohabiting – never married or civil partnered" represented 6.8% of the population; this had increased to 9.8% by 2016. This may be explained by an increasing trend to cohabit instead of marry, or to cohabit before marriage, particularly at younger ages. Cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing family type in the UK.

Emily Knipe, Population Statistics Division, Office for National Statistics, commented:

"In England and Wales, being married continues to be the most common marital status for those age 16 and over in 2016. This is despite the proportion of the population who are married decreasing by 3.9 percentage points since 2002 and the proportion of the population who are single increasing. The population who are in a marriage between same-sex couples has more than doubled since 2015."

For the full statistics, click here.