People's living arrangements in England and Wales: Census 2021

View as a webpage

office for national statistics

People's living arrangements in England and Wales: Census 2021

9 February 2023

Today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published an article on the changing picture of living arrangements, England and Wales: Census 2021. This is the first of a series of detailed articles on the topic of legal partnership status, families and people with a second address that we are producing using data from Census 2021.

This article provides an overview of people’s living arrangements. It includes analysis on: their legal partnership status; non-dependent children; people living alone; people with second addresses; and, whether people had moved in the year prior to census. The main findings from the analysis presented in this article include:

  • The proportion of people who live in a couple that are cohabiting (not in a marriage or civil partnership) has increased from 20.6% in 2011 to 24.3% in 2021, an increase across all age groups aged under 85 years.
  • The proportion of cohabiting couples with an age difference of five years or more fell from 38.5% in 2011 to 33.7% in 2021, the age differences of cohabiting couples are now more similar to those of married couples (31.1% five or more years).
  • On Census Day, 4.9 million non-dependent children lived in the parental home, an increase of 14.7% since 2011, the largest percentage point increase was for those aged 25 to 29 years.
  • The proportion of people aged 16 to 49 years who live alone has decreased from 9.5% in 2011 to 8.5% in 2021.
  • The number of usual residents who stayed at a second parental address for more than 30 days a year was 1.1 million (42.4% more than 2011), 5.0% of people aged under 18 years (620,000) in 2021 and 3.3% (391,000) in 2011.
  • For some people, living arrangements in March 2021 may reflect how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected their place of usual residence on Census Day, but this is likely to be marginal in relation to the underlying trends in living arrangements.

You can keep up to date with our Census 2021 release plans on the ONS website.

Read the article

Rich Pereira

Rich Pereira is head of Demography. You can follow Rich on Twitter for the latest in population statistics news: @RichPereira_ONS.

Contact us

We would welcome any comments on any of our products. Please contact with any feedback you may have.

You have received this message because you have subscribed to the ONS migration and population statistics mailing list.  You can manage your preferences or unsubscribe at any time using the links at the foot of this email.

Our stakeholder privacy notice is viewable here.