THE majority of women giving birth in Newport are unmarried, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Of the 1,903 babies born across the area in 2016, 56.6 per cent had parents who were not married or in a civil partnership when the birth was registered - a slight increase on the previous year.

Babies born to parents either in a marriage or a same-sex civil partnership equated to 43.4 per cent of the births.

This means that parents in Newport are less likely to be married before having kids than the average UK couple as across the country 52.3 per cent of babies have parents in a legally recognised relationship.

The figures on births, released by the ONS, show the extent to which cohabiting couples who have not formally tied the knot are becoming parents.

In 2016, 35 per cent of babies were registered by parents who are listed as living together but not married or in a civil partnership.

Commenting on the national trend revealed by the figures, Nicola Haines from the ONS said: "Our data show that the overwhelming majority of births are registered jointly by two parents."

The ONS said that across the country cohabiting couples with children are becoming more prevalent.

When counted alongside those who are married or in a civil partnership it means that 79 per cent of babies born in Newport in 2016 have a family setting that includes two parents at home.

The birth records show that in 2016, 137 children were registered by their mother alone, with no record of the father.

A further 269 babies had parents who were recorded as living at different addresses.

Together these children make up 21 per cent of all the babies born in the area in 2016.

The ONS added that the figures for the whole of England and Wales show that the proportion of single parent birth registrations was at the lowest level since 1980.