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Regional divide growing larger for UK’s one-person households

Ian Jones, PA
·2-min read

The regional divide in the proportion of one-person households across the UK is growing larger, new figures suggest.

An estimated 22.8% of households in London in 2020 were lived in by a single person, the lowest for any region of the country.

The highest estimate was 33.6% for north-east England and Scotland.

The difference between the two estimates, 10.8 percentage points, compares with a gap of just 6.8 points in 2015, when the estimates ranged from 25.8% in London to 32.6% in Scotland.

London has seen the biggest drop in the proportion of single-person households, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

SOCIAL Households
(PA graphic)

Other regions of England where the proportion is estimated to have fallen since 2015 include north-west England, down from 31.1% to 29.9%, and the East Midlands, where the number has dropped from 26.8% to 25.9%.

Along with north-east England and Scotland, two other areas of the UK are estimated to have seen a rise in the proportion of one-person households: Yorkshire and the Humber, up from 29.2% to 31.4%, and south-east England, from 26.3% to 27.7%.

Overall, the number of people living alone in the UK has increased by 4% over the last 10 years, from an estimated 7.6 million in 2010 to 7.9 million in 2020.

The total number of households in the UK in 2020 was estimated to be 27.8 million, an increase of 5.9% since 2010.

SOCIAL Households
(PA graphic)

“The number of families and households in the UK has continued to rise in line with the growth of the UK population over the past decade,” the ONS said.

“However, the ways that people live have been changing.

“While average household size has remained stable over the last two decades, the proportion of people who live alone has increased and multi-family households, despite making up a very small proportion, has been the fastest growing household type over this period.”

The ONS figures also show that an estimated 28% of 20 to 34-year-olds in the UK were living with their parents in 2020.

The figure is up from an estimated 23% in 2010 and 20% in 2000.