MARRIED mums still make up the majority of women giving birth in Bradford.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that only 41.4 per cent of the 7,930 babies born across the area in 2016 have parents who were not married or in a civil partnership when the birth was registered, only a slight increase on the previous year.

It shows marriage or a same-sex civil partnership is the family setting for 58.6 per cent of children meaning that parents in Bradford are more likely to be get married before having children than the average UK couple.

Across the country 52.3 per cent of babies have parents in a legally recognised relationship.

Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend Toby Howarth, said: “Children born into loving, stable homes have a great start in life. With many pressures growing on parents, not least financially, we need to celebrate and support all mums, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles as well as other carers who do an amazing job in bringing up our city’s children.”

Council for Mosques president Ayub Laher also said children being born to couples in a married relationship was a good start because it showed commitment but what really mattered was what came next, bringing them up to be well-behaved, law abiding citizens.

“Yes it is good that the majority of babies are born to married couples because it is a good start in life because there is already a show of commitment but it is what happens next that really matters," he said.

"Parents' work is to make sure these children are brought up to have morals and discipline so they don’t go on to make other people’s lives hell.”

In 2016, 26 per cent of babies nationally were registered by parents who were listed as living together but not married or in a civil partnership.

Nicola Haines, of the ONS, said the overwhelming majority of births were registered jointly by two parents.

The ONS also 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 85 per cent of babies born in Bradford in 2016 have a family setting that includes two parents at home.

The birth records show that in 2016, 458 children were registered by their mother alone, with no record of the father. A further 755 babies had parents who were recorded as living at different addresses. Together these children make up 15 per cent of all the babies born in the area in 2016.

Figures for the whole of England and Wales show the proportion of single parent birth registrations was at the lowest level since 1980.