The cohabiting couple is the second largest family type and the fastest growing, having more than doubled from 1.5 million families in 1996 to 3.3 million families in 2017. This may be explained by an increasing trend to cohabit instead of marry, or to cohabit before marriage, particularly at younger ages. In 2017 there were 19 million families in the UK, a 15 per cent increase from 16.6 million in 1996. With 12.9 million families, the married or civil partner couple family remains the most common in 2017.
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