Children affected by separation

Topic Selected: Marriage and Partnership

General Article icon Type: General Article

It is estimated that one in three children in the UK will experience parental separation before the age of 16. Approximately half of couples divorcing in 2010 had at least one child aged under 16, and over a fifth were under age five.

The number of children affected by divorce has risen over the past few decades, from about 82,000 (under 16 years) in 1971 to 100,000 in 2009.

It is difficult to say exactly how many cohabiting couples with children separate, but the number is likely to be substantial. As many as 30% of all births in England and Wales in 2008 were to unmarried parents living at the same address, many of whom will have been cohabiting. Cohabiting couples are more likely to split up, and one in three cohabiting parents separate before their child’s fifth birthday, compared to about one in ten who are married.

Considering these facts, the total number of children who are affected by the separation of their biological parents is likely to be m

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