Spare a thought for family lawyers. And those in the residential property business.

Last year the number of married people fell to less than half the population. The Office for National Statistics has now forecast that by 2031 the ranks of those who have never married will swell to 22.1m (42 % of the adult population) and more than the 21.6m total of the married. They predict that whilst the married population comprises 49% of the population now, by then it will have dwindled to 41%.

The figures also show that the number of people who cohabit will rise from 4.5m to 7.4m over the next 20 years.

People who live by themselves will be the biggest group in 20 years’ time, making up 44% of the adult population. Those without partners will outnumber the married and the greatest increase in singletons will be among people aged between 30 and 65.

They also predict that around 3m who are now in their teens, twenties and thirties will be without a partner of the opposite sex in 2031.