The FIRST time that figures have shown more than half the population are single, the governments Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released data showing that 51% of people in England and Wales are single.
With similar patterns across the proportion of single and married people the 2011 Census data revealed the same situation across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Seven of the top 10 most single areas are in London, with Manchester, Nottingham and Brighton and Hove being the only areas in the top ten single places outside the capital.
So what are the trends behind the information? Is this an accurate reflection of the way we live now?
The census office define “single” people as people over 16 who are not married and includes many people whose Facebook statuses would say they were “in a relationship”.
Arguably, a more important release from the ONS looks in more detail at the make-up of households. Taking a look across the whole of the UK in 2014 there were 26.7 million households, of which 28% housed only one person. That’s around 6.7 million households.
Some of these households may consist of single parents, and some may be cohabiting couples, also counted as single by the ONCS. But then again in statistical terms, a two, three or four person household, like a single person may not be what it seems. It could be a group of people living together who may not be related to each other who may share expenses, cooking facilities and some living space but and who are effectively “single”.
So, if you’re counting all people who have never been married, or who are divorced or widowed, as being single, then that has indeed risen above 50% for the first time or once you take cohabiting couples out of the equation, then it’s well below 40%. Still a high proportion of the population.
So although it is extremely difficult to define and count exactly how many people are single, one thing’s for sure, we do represent a significant and growing proportion of the population, very often overlooked by government and service companies.
Check out the interactive map, to find out how your area rates and find where the highest proportions of single people live.