The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says the number of same-sex couples living together in the UK increased by almost a third since last year.

In 2012, there were 69,000 same-sex couples living together outside of a civil partnership, whereas now there are 89,000. The number of civil partners living together has dropped by 4% to 63,000.

In 1996, the ONS measured that there were 16,000 same-sex couples openly living together.

Now, it records 89,000 same-sex couples cohabiting couples as well as 63,000 civil partner couples.

Moreover, the number of gay and lesbian couples bringing up children has risen by 8% since last year, according to the ONS.

Last year, there were 12,000 same-sex couples bringing up children, whereas now there are 13,000.

Richard Lane, spokesman for Stonewall said: “Once again official figures are catching up with the reality of modern Britain”.

He continued: “It’s hugely welcome that same-sex couples across the country are now more comfortable being open about their relationships and families”.

James Carroll, Family Law Partner at Russell-Cooke Solicitors, told PinkNews.co.uk: “No longer is the 2.4 heterosexual norm the only option. Alternative family structures are becoming increasingly common place”.

Mr Carroll added: “The statistics are encouraging that alternative families aren’t really alternative any more – they are simply normal families with different forms”.