ONS Reports One-Parent Families On The Rise

Britons are increasingly likely to live in single-parent families, stay at home for longer, marry later and struggle to afford a house, official figures say.

The Office for National Statistics said children in Great Britain are three times more likely to live in one-parent households than they were in 1972.

Last year almost 60% of men and 40% of women aged between 20 and 24 in England still lived with their parents.

The department’s annual Social Trends report studies patterns in UK society.

Among the findings this year was that wages rose by 92% from 1995 to 2005, but house prices rocketed by 204%.

As a result, more young people were continuing to live with their parents until their mid-20s.

The report also linked the rise in adults living with their parents to the numbers of further education students – trebling between 1971 and 2005.

“Some adults remain at home while in education or because of economic necessity, such as difficulties entering the housing market,” the report said.

Since 1971 the proportion of all people living in “traditional” family households of married couples with dependent children has fallen from 52% to 37%.

“Recent decades have seen marked changes in household patterns,” the report said.

“The traditional family household of a married couple with a child or children is less common, while there has been an increase in lone-parent households.”

The report found that mothers headed nine out of 10 single-parent families, and lone parents were three times more likely to live in rented accommodation than traditional families.

According to the data, the proportion of under-fives at school had increased threefold, from 21% in 1971 to 64% last year.

And children are increasingly technology-savvy, with around 50% of eight to 11-year-olds having their own mobile phones.

But the ONS statistics showed that people in Great Britain are more sickly now than they were in 1981.

In 1981, men would spend 6.4 years of their lifetime ill, but by 2002 the figure had risen to 8.8 years. In the same period, the figures for women rose from 10.1 years to 10.6.

Other findings included:

# In 2006, first-time home buyers paid an average of £141,229 compared with £46,489 in 1991.

# Second marriages made up two-fifths of all marriages in 2005.

# In the same year, the average age at first marriage in England and Wales was 32 for men and 29 for women – up from 25 and 23 respectively in 1971.

# Divorces in 2005 fell to 155,000 from a 1993 peak of 180,000.

# In 2005, 66% of single-parent families lived in rented housing compared with 22% of couples with dependent children.