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Record number have never married

Over a third of people in England and Wales are single and have never married, figures show.

The total is the highest since comparable records began, and is an increase of 10% on 10 years ago.

Some 33.9% of residents in England and Wales had never been married last year, equalling the previous high in 2011.

By contrast, just over half (51.2%) of people were married - a fall of 5% on 10 years ago.

There were 7% who were widowed and 8% were divorced.

The number of people in civil partnerships (0.2%) fell slightly year-on-year, which could reflect the introduction of same-sex marriages.

The divorce rate, including those who had dissolved civil partnerships, rose to 8.2%, just below its recent peak of 8.3% in 2011.

The long-term increase in the number of divorces is being driven by those aged 45 and over, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

There has been a greater rise in divorce among those aged 50 to 64 than in younger age groups.

The figures show that around one in eight adults was living as part of a couple but was not married or civil partnered. Cohabiting was most common among 30 to 34-year-olds.

More men than women have never married and live alone: a total of 28% compared with 22%.

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