'More single parent homes in 1800s'
Couples with large age gaps, and the number of single-parent households, were more common in Victorian Britain than they are today, according to new research.
The oldest partner in the 1800s tended to be female, often because mortality rates in the workplace were high, resulting in a greater number of widows, said the report.
An analysis of the 1841 census showed that one in six households had one parent, compared with 5% nowadays.
Deaths from childbirth, or workplace accidents, were a more common reason for a single household in Victorian times than divorce, said Ancestry.
Miriam Silverman of Ancestry.co.uk, said: "The millions of census records now online allow for the observation of fascinating social trends, including how today's non-nuclear families are far from a modern trend.
"In many ways, a married couple with 2.4 children is the real unconventional household."