Revealed: Islington the 'single persons' capital' of England and Wales

Sixty percent of people living in Islington, north London have never been married.
Sixty percent of people living in Islington, north London have never been married. Photo: Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment

Islington in north London has the highest proportion of singletons in England and Wales, with 60% of the area's population having never been married.

The overall single population increased by five percentage points between the 2001 and 2011 Census, new analysis shows. That means over a third (35%) of the population of England and Wales has never been married.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says the rise in the single population represents the proportional decline in marriage since the 1970s, and an increase in couples who cohabit but never marry.

A map shows the percentage of those aged 16 or over who were not living as a couple.
A map shows the percentage of those aged 16 or over who were not living as a couple. Credit: ONS

Islington's particularly high proportion of unmarried people is thought to be down to the relatively young age of its inhabitants.

According to the data, the five local authorities in England and Wales with the lowest proportion of married people are all in London:

  • Islington (59.9%)
  • Lambeth (58.4%)
  • Hackney (57.5%)
  • Hammersmith and Fulham (55.9%)
  • Tower Hamlets (55.3%)

While the five local authorities with the lowest proportion of singletons are:

  • East Dorset (21.0%)
  • East Devon (23.7%)
  • North Kesteven (23.7%)
  • Christchurch South (24.0%)
  • Northamptonshire (24.2%)
785,000 people who were married were not living together as a married couple in 2011.
785,000 people who were married were not living together as a married couple in 2011. Credit: ONS

A few more facts from the data:

  • More than half of adults in the UK were living as a couple in 2011 - either married or cohabiting
  • 3.7% (785,000) of married people were not living together as a married couple
  • Blackpool is the divorce hotspot of England and Wales, with 13.1% of adults divorced. Harrow (5.4%) has the lowest divorce rate.
  • Northern Ireland had the lowest divorced population of the four UK countries (5.5%), while Wales had the highest (9.7%)

If you're interested in doing some more research on the subject, you can find out more about the proportion of singles in your area via the ONS website.