A further 500,000 are in cohabiting step-families, and 400,000 in married step-families.The fig-include youngsters up to the age of 16 plus 16 to 18-year-olds in full-time education.Older women who have babies are increasingly choosing to do so outside marriage, an ONS report said.

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ONS analyst Ben Wilson said: ‘Growth in the number of children with a non-resident parent is one dimension of an increasing diversity of family forms.’ But supporters of the traditional family called on David Cameron’s government to act to try to help two-parent families stay together.

Patricia Morgan, a researcher and author on the family, said: ‘This isn’t diversity. ‘All the independent evidence shows that this is a bad thing.

The figures were released alongside other statistics showing that the population is continuing to grow at record rates, that single people and cohabiting couples will significantly outnumber married people in 20 years, and that older mothers are increasingly likely to have babies outside marriage.

Ministers responded to the news of unchecked population growth – set to bring numbers in the country to 70million inside two decades – with fresh promises to cut immigration back to the levels of the 1990s.

These figures show that the disintegration of the family is speeding up, with all the inevitable troubles that will follow.’ Jill Kirby, of the centre-right think-tank Centre for Policy Studies, said: ‘Growing up in a disrupted family at least doubles the risk for a child of doing badly at school, suffering poor health, and growing up to be unemployed, to teenage pregnancy, or to fall into crime.

‘It is crucial that the Government does something to try to give children a better start.

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The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that 1 in 5 children are sexually solicited online.

But mothers aged 30-34 are 44 per cent more likely to be married.

Last month figures showed that 27,000 babies were born to mothers over 40 last year, nearly three times the level of 20 years ago.

The finding suggests that women giving birth later in life – often after pursuing careers or working to pay a mortgage during the traditional childbearing years – are less worried about the formal nature of their relationship with the father.