Civil partnership registrations rise for third consecutive year

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Dissolutions fall by a quarter

There were 956 civil partnerships formed in England and Wales in 2018, an increase of 5.3 per cent compared with 2017; this is the third annual increase following a large decrease between 2013 and 2015 after the introduction of marriages of same-sex couples in 2014. The figures were revealed in the latest statistics concerning civil partnerships, published by the Office for National Statistics. 

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of all civil partnerships formed in 2018 were between men, a similar proportion to the previous year (66 per cent). In 2018, the average age of women forming a civil partnership (51.6 years) was higher than for men (50.5 years). More than one in five (21 per cent) of those entering a civil partnership in 2018 were aged 65 years and over; this compares with just 4 per cent in 2013, prior to the introduction of marriages of same-sex couples.

London continued to be the most popular region for the formation of civil partnerships; 32 per cent of all formations in England and Wales in 2018 took place in London.

There were 927 civil partnership dissolutions granted in England and Wales in 2018, a fall of nearly a quarter (24 per cent) compared with 2017. More than half (56 per cent) of civil partnership dissolutions in 2018 were to female couples, a similar percentage to previous years.

Kanak Ghosh, of the ONS’s Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, said:

“The number of same-sex couples forming a civil partnership increased slightly in 2018, for the third consecutive year. Just under 1,000 couples preferred this option to marriage. Those choosing to form a civil partnership are more likely to be male or over 50.

“The recent change in the law to make opposite-sex couples eligible to form civil partnerships from the end of this year is likely to bring further increases to the overall number of civil partnerships formed in England and Wales.”

Scott Halliday, modern families expert at Irwin Mitchell, said:

“It is really encouraging that the numbers of civil partnerships are continuing to increase modestly. I expect over the next three to five years for a significant further increase as heterosexual couples decide to enter into a civil partnership as opposed to marriages.

“The increase may also be because there is greater awareness of the lack of protection for cohabiting couples. It is imperative that couples understand cohabitation laws do not provide the same types of protection as relationship status such as a civil partnership.

“It is also incredibly important to remember that for the LGBTQ+ community, a civil partnership was the only route to a legally recognised relationship status before marriage became available to them. Recently the government had suggested it may abolish civil partnerships before deciding to extend them to heterosexual people after the landmark Steinfeld & Keidan Supreme Court case last year. This was a vital decision; the UK must have a secular alternative to marriage and not disregard the importance of the history of civil partnerships for LGBTQ+ couples.”

For the full statistics, click here.

11/10/19 (comment added 11/10/19)


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