Only two out of five adults will be married in Britain in the next 20 years, marginalizing married couples into a minority status, official forecasts claim.
As more people remain single or opt for alternative unions, Husbands and wives will make up only 41 per cent of the over-16 population by 2031, according to the Office for National Statistics.
AdvertisementBritain will see a dearth of married couples by 2031, and they will be outnumbered by divorcees, single people and cohabiting couples, the statistics claim.
People who live by themselves will be the biggest group, making up 44 per cent of the adult population, it is predicted.
Marriages, which started declining in the 1980s, will become status of a lifestyle enjoyed by the minority, Forecasters suggest.
The data follow last year's fall in the numbers of married people to less than half the adult population.
There are currently around 21.7 million married people in England and Wales, compared with 14.9 million adults who have never wed. Around four million people are divorcees and three million are widowed.
It is expected that by 2031, there will be 22.1 million people who have never married - 42 per cent of the adult population - against 21.6 million married couples.
The married population will amount to 41 per cent of all adults, down from 49 per cent now.
The number of people who cohabit will rise from 4.5 million to 7.4 million over the next 20 years.
Singles will outnumber the married, with the largest proportion of them aged between 30 and 65.
Around three million people who are now in their teens, 20s and 30s will be without a partner of the opposite sex in 2031, the projections suggest.
Anastasia de Waal, of the think-tank Civitas, said: "Many more are living at home with their parents, which is a bit of a killer for romance. Others are living far from their work and find it difficult to meet people."
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