The Office for National Statistics has published population estimates by marital status and living arrangements in England and Wales, from 2002 to 2016.
The main points were:
• 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.
• In 2016, 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.
The statistics also showed that the percentage of people aged 16 and over who are married has decreased over time, from 54.8% in 2002 to 50.9% in 2016. The percentage of people aged 16 and over who are single has increased in that period, from 29.6% in 2002 to 34.6% in 2016. This coincides with an increase in people cohabiting who are never married or civil partnered, as cohabitation has become more common as an alternative to marriage, especially at younger ages.
The ONS 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.”
You can read the statistical bulletin here.