England

Same-sex civil partnerships gain popularity across Britain

Gay men dancing at wedding Image copyright Getty/Rawpixel
Image caption The ONS said some same-sex couples preferred civil partnerships to marriage

The number of couples forming civil partnerships has risen for the first time since the introduction of same-sex marriages.

There were 960 civil partnerships formed in England, Wales and Scotland in 2016, compared with 925 in 2015.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it showed a "minority of same-sex couples" preferred civil partnerships to marriage.

However, more civil partnerships were dissolved than formed.

There were 1,313 partnerships dissolved in England and Wales in 2016, with female couples making up 60% of dissolutions.

London saw the largest increase in new civil partnerships in England and Wales, with the North East showing the smallest regional rise.

Civil partnerships formed between men in 2016 comprised more than two-thirds of the total.

Yorkshire and The Humber and the East Midlands bucked the trend with more females entering into civil partnerships.

Couples aged 50 and above made up nearly half (49%) of those choosing civil partnerships in 2016 in England and Wales, compared to 19% in 2013, when same-sex marriages were announced as legally recognised.

The average age of women entering into a civil partnership was 49.9 years which is higher compared to men at 48.6 years.

The ONS and National Records of Scotland show an overall rise in civil partnerships in Britain but the latest figures for Northern Ireland have not yet been released.

Nicola Haines of the ONS said: "Following legislative change enabling marriages of same-sex couples from March 2014, civil partnership formations declined as the majority of same-sex couples opted for marriage instead. However, 2016 represents the first increase in civil partnership formations since this change, showing that a minority of same-sex couples still prefer this option to marriage."

More on this story