Key findings of the ESRI report
• A third of Irish families now fall outside the traditional married nuclear family, with one in three families comprised of never-married cohabiting couples and lone parents.
• Ireland has a high rate of lone parents who never married, which may be linked with the generous One Parent Family Payment.
• The age gap between men and women in couples has been narrowing over the past 50 years, with men now, on average, 2.3 years older than their female partners.
• In almost half (42pc) of couples aged between 26 and 40, the woman has a higher occupational status than her male partner and a higher educational qualification than her male partner in more than a third (34pc) of couples in the same age group.
• The likelihood of cohabitation is greater amongst people with no religious affiliation or children, and lower socio-economic status and education.