Changing families and households

Family and household structures have changed significantly over the past 50 years and this looks set to continue.

Households occupied by people living on their own

Over the next 20 years a sharp increase in the number of people living on their own is predicted. By 2033 it is expected that 11.3 million people will be living on their own (41 per cent of all households in England); in 1961 only 12 per cent of households were single person households (1).

This growth in lone households is particularly marked for older people. The number of people over 65 living on their own is expected to grow from 3 million in 2008 to 4.8 million in 2033 and the number of people over 85 living on their own from 573,000 to 1.4 million (2).

One person household projections by age of household reference person, England, 2008-2033

one-person-household-projections.jpg

Source: Communities and Local Government (2010). Report. Updating the Department for Communities and Local Government's household projections to a 2008 base: Final Report

Family structures

At the same time, family structures are becoming more complex. There has been a decline in marriage and a growth in cohabiting. Over one in three (35 per cent) of all marriages are now remarriages (3). Stepfamilies are the fastest growing family forms in Britain, accounting for one in ten of all families (4).  

The number of single-parent families is also growing, expected to rise by 31 per cent from 2013 to 2033  to just over 412,000 (4).

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References

  1. Communities and Local Government (2010). Report. Updating the Department for Communities and Local Government’s household projections to a 2008 base, Final report
  2. Communities and Local Government (2010). Report. Household projections, 2008 to 2033, England
  3. Office for National Statistics (2011). Report. Households and families, Social Trends 41
  4. Ipsos MORI (2009). Report. The impact of changing family structures and what the public think