Women in the Netherlands have been having far fewer children in the last decades and large families have become relatively rare. In spite of this, few children grow up without siblings. Nearly half of children aged 8 to 12 have one brother or sister, and four in ten children have two or more.
Two-child family popular
The two-child family is popular in the Netherlands. More than half of families with the youngest child aged between 8 and 12 years have two children living at home. Only one in five families have one child. The share of one-child families is even smaller than that of families with three children.
Families by number of children, youngest child 8-12, 2002
Four in ten children have more than one sibling
Although two-child families are the most common, four in ten children have more than one sibling. Just over nine out of ten children have at least one brother or sister still living at home. There are even slightly more children with three siblings than children without siblings. Overall one in eleven children live in a family without a brother or sister.
8-12 year-olds by number of siblings
One in thirty children alone with father or mother
The largest group of children aged 8 to 12 years live in a standard family with two parents and two children. The number of children living with two parents and two or more brothers or sisters is only slightly smaller. Only few children – six percent – have two parents but no brothers or sisters. One-parent families relatively often have one child, although three-quarters of children in one-parent families have one or more brothers and sisters. Only one in thirty children aged 8 to 12 live alone with their father or mother without any brothers or sisters.
8-12 year-olds by number of parents and siblings
Joop Garssen and Carel Harmsen