Dependent children by family type, UK, 2001 and 2010 (millions)
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics
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Fall in number of dependent children in married couple families
The number of dependent children living in families in the UK has remained stable between 2001 and 2010 at 13.3 million. While the number of dependent children has not significantly changed, the types of families in which they live have changed.
The chart shows that the number of dependent children living in married couple families decreased by 673,000 in 2001 to 8.4 million in 2010. Over the same period, dependent children living in opposite sex cohabiting couple families increased by 438,000 to 1.8 million and those living in lone parent families increased by 220,000 to 3.1 million.
Families with dependent children
Between 2001 and 2010 the number of families with dependent children increased by 4 per cent to 7.7 million in 2010. Of these, the percentage of families with only one dependent child increased by four percentage points to 46 per cent, while the percentage of families with two or more dependent children in the family decreased. This does not necessarily mean that the average number of children born to a woman is falling as it may simply reflect the increasing age at which women are having children.
Between 2001 and 2010 opposite sex cohabiting couple families with dependent children increased by a third to 1.1 million in 2010, while lone parent families with dependent children increased by 12 per cent to 2.0 million. Married couple families with dependent children remained the most common family type with dependent children, despite the number decreasing by four per cent to 4.6 million in 2010.
Office for National Statistics
- Dependent children are those aged under 16 living with at least one parent, or aged 16 to 18 in full-time education, excluding all children who have a spouse, partner or child living in the household.
- A family is a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children, or a lone parent with at least one child. Children may be dependent or non-dependent.
- Less than one per cent of dependent children were living in civil partner and same sex cohabiting couple families in 2010. Therefore the figures are too small to draw meaningful conclusions from and have been excluded from the above analysis.
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Families and Households
- Presents recent estimates of the number of families by type, people in families by family type and children in families by type. Types of family include married couple families, cohabiting couple families and lone parent families. Tables on household size, household types and people in different household types are also provided. These include estimates of people living alone, multi-family households and households where members are all unrelated.
Focus on Families
- Focus on Families provides an up-to-date and comprehensive description of families at the start of the 21st century. It presents a wealth of information on families, how they have changed over time and the demographic forces driving these trends.
Focus on Families consists of the following chapters:
Chapter 1: Families,
Chapter 2: Unpaid care and the family,
Chapter 3: Family structure and family formation – education as outcome and explanation,
Chapter 4: Family living arrangements and health,
Chapter 5: Family geography.
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