New data from the Office for National Statistics has shown that more people in England and Wales have never married than at any other time since records began.

In 2014 more than a third (33.9%) of people were no longer or had never been married, a rise of 3 per cent from 2004.

One in eight couples now live together without getting married, while nearly 28 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women live alone and have never been married.

The number of people marrying in the UK has risen over the last three years, but increase in the overall population means that the percentage has fallen.

Harry Benson, research director of Marriage Foundation, an organisation that promotes marriage, said: “On our own current estimates, 90% of 60-year-olds have married at some stage, whereas only 50% of today’s young adults will do so. If we want more of our young two-parent families to succeed as couples, the older generation have got a lot of encouraging to do.”

The group now most likely to get divorced are those aged 50-64.

Although the number of civil partnerships has dropped by 0.2% every year – perhaps due to the legalisation of same-sex marriage – a campaign group has been lobbying for civil partnerships to be made available to opposite-sex couples.

Ava Lee, the Equal Civil Partnerships For All campaigns manager, said civil partnerships would offer legal protection to cohabiting couples who don’t opt for traditional marriage.

She said: “Preventing these couples from accessing civil partnerships denies protections under the law: no rights to ownership of each other’s property, no rights to inherit the other’s estate, and no rights to tax benefits provided to married couples.

“There is no real justification for upholding this strange anomaly in the law and stopping opposite-sex couples from forming civil partnerships.”

Source: The Guardian