A THIRD of people in Dudley were single as the number of marriage and civil partnerships dropped in the past decade, new census figures show.

The area follows trends across England and Wales, where the rate of single people has increased since the last census in 2011.

The number of people considered single – never having been in a civil partnership or marriage – in Dudley when the census took place last year was 94,228, up from 79,065 in 2011.

Of those aged 16 and older in Dudley, 35.9 per cent were single – an increase on 31.2 per cent in 2011.

The picture was similar across England and Wales last year, where 37.9 per cent of people 16 and older were single, up from 34.6 per cent in 2011.

And 45.8 per cent of people in Dudley were married or in a civil partnership last year – down from 50.3 per cent 10 years prior.

Data from the census shows 119,134 people were in opposite sex marriages last year, down from 127,176 in 2011.

An additional 624 were in same sex marriages in Dudley last year – they were illegal in 2011.

The figures also show 227 people were in same sex civil partnerships last year and 157 were in opposite sex civil partnerships. There were 310 people in civil partnerships 10 years prior, which were only allowed for same sex couples at the time.

There were 23,229 divorced people and 48 people with a dissolved civil partnership in Dudley last year, making up 8.9 per cent of people aged 16 and over.

John Wroth-Smith, Census deputy director, said: "When looking a bit deeper, we can see that the proportion of people in a marriage or civil partnership has declined, which follows the long-term trend of declining marriages."

"Conversely, the number of people who were never married or in a civil partnership has increased by almost 3 million," Mr Wroth-Smith added.

Nationally, 21.7 million people were married or in a civil partnership – making up 45 per cent of those aged 16 and older. And 9.1 per cent of the population were divorced or no longer in a civil partnership, up slightly from nine per cent a decade prior.