Births outside marriage rise to 45 per cent

More children in Britain are born outside marriage today than at any other point in the past 200 years, claims a study.

Historical documents show births outside marriage in England and Wales hovered around 5 per cent from the 1750s before rising steadily from the 1960s, research by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank found.

By the late 1970s the figure was more than 10 per cent, rising to 30 per cent by 1991 and reaching 45 per cent today, says the CSJ. The proportion of couples living together without getting married has risen from less than 5 per cent before 1945 to 90 per cent now.