The proportion of babies born outside marriage in UK has risen to its highest every level, new figures show.
In total 46 per cent of births were outside wedlock in the first three months of this year, compared to 45.3 per cent in 2008.
The proportion has risen by more than 50 per cent since 1991, when 30.2 per cent of children were born to unmarried mothers.
The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, also show that women in their thirties continue to have the highest fertility rate.
In 2008, 708,708 babies were born in England and Wales, up from 690,013 the previous year.
Fertility rose among all age groups rose, but women in their early 30s continued to enjoy the highest rates, at 112.3 live births per 1,000 women aged between 30 and 34.
Among women aged between 15 and 44 there were an average of 63.5 live births per 1,000 women, a rise which marked a return to 1992 levels.
In England, women in the West Midlands had the most children - 2.09 per head - and the lowest was the North East at 1.86.