Cohabiting couples fastest growing family type in UK

Amanda Crowe Cropped

The Office of National Statistics has revealed that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK. The results were published for the 2015 Families and Households Survey. Every year the ONS tracks the changes in families throughout the UK. The results of this year’s survey reveal that the cohabiting couple family continues to be the fastest growing family type in the UK, reaching 3.2 million this year. However, the most common family type still remains the married or civil partner couple family with or without dependent children. There are 12.5 million UK families of this nature.

The survey also reveals that in 2015 around 40% of young adults aged 15 to 34 in the UK were living with their parents. There were 27 million households in the UK, 35% of all households were two person households and there are 7.7 million people in UK households who live alone.

With cohabiting families showing the biggest growth, many are now calling again for the government to review the rights of separating couples and their entitlements. At the moment a couple could live together for decades, have children, but on separation their rights and responsibilities are treated very differently compared with a couple who are ending a marriage or civil partnership. Many households still believe in the myth of a common law marriage but there is no such thing. For anyone who is experiencing separation and is part of a cohabiting relationship, it is important to seek legal advice in relation to their rights and what they can expect to receive by way of a settlement.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee.

Family Solicitors in Ipswich – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email