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It’s official – 51% of people are single

The Single Population – Latest Stats

The very FIRST time that figures have shown more than half the population was single, the governments Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just released data that shows 51% of people in England and Wales are single.

It’s official – 51% of people 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 so includes  many people whose Facebook statuses for example would say they were “in a relationship”.

An arguably more important recent 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% contained 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 ONS. But then again in statistical terms, a 2, 3 or 4 person household, like a single person may at first sight, 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 the 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 all sorts of people, from travel companies to service and utility providers right through to housing agencies and politicians.

Check out the stats office interactive map to find out how your area rates and find where the highest proportions of single people live.