Strong rise in one-parent families

27/09/2005 14:00

While the number of families with children has remained fairly constant in the Netherlands in recent years, the number of one-parent families has increased substantially. The increase was especially large among foreigners: four out of ten Antillean women aged around 40 were single mothers.

One parent families by parent’s ethnic origin, 1 January 2005

One parent families by parent’s ethnic origin, 1 January 2005

60 thousand more one-parent families in five years

The number of one-parent families has risen from 384 thousand to 444 thousand in the last five years. The number of families with two parents remained at about the same level, at just over 2 million. On 1 January 2005 nearly 18 percent of families with children had one parent.

In one third of one-parent families the parent is a foreigner. The number of one-parent families was largest among the Surinamese community in the Netherlands: 32 thousand. They are followed at a distance by Antilleans/Arubans and Turks, both groups having around 13 thousand one-parent families.

Strong rise among Turks and Moroccans

Although the numbers of Turkish and Moroccan one-parent families are still relatively small (9 thousand and 13 thousand), they have increased substantially. Since 2000 the numbers of Moroccan and Turkish one-parent families have risen by 46 and 42 percent respectively. Among Antilleans, too, the increase was above average at 28 percent. The increase among the Surinamese and native Dutch population were lower than average.

Percentage of single mothers in the female population, 1 January 2005

Percentage of single mothers in the female population, 1 January 2005

Many Antillean women are single mothers

The risk of single motherhood is largest for Antillean and Surinamese women. Around the age of 40 years, four out of ten Antillean women are single mothers. For Surinamese women this is about one third and for Turkish and Moroccan women one sixth. The lowest proportion of single mothers is among native Dutch women: one twelfth of them are single mothers around the age of 40.

Number of children in one-parent families, 1 January 2005

Number of children in one-parent families, 1 January 2005

One in eight children live in a one-parent family

Some 360 thousand (12 percent) of the more than 3 million children under 15 years of age in the Netherlands live in a one parent family. This percentage is smaller for young children, as most one-parent families are the result of divorce. However, nearly half of Antillean and Aruban  children are born into one-parent families. For Surinamese children this percentage is higher: 41 percent. For native Dutch children the proportion is 9 percent.

Joop Garssen and Carel Harmsen