Half of first-born children's parents are not married

29/07/2008 15:00

Last year, 40 percent of all children in the Netherlands were born to unmarried mothers, i.e. half of all first-born children. The proportion has doubled over the past decade.  

More and more children born out of wedlock

Last year, 181 thousand children were born in the Netherlands, of whom 70 thousand out of wedlock. Hence, four in ten newborn babies were born to unmarried parents, as opposed to one in ten in 1990. The increase can be attributed to a sharp rise in the number of cohabiting parents.

Share of live-born babies of unmarried mothers

Share of live-born babies of unmarried mothers

Fewer cohabitants marry on the arrival of their first baby

The growth of the number of children born out of wedlock applies to all children; 2007 was the first year in which half of first-borns were born out of wedlock. The number of next-born children whose parents are not married is also rising distinctly. More and more parents retain their unmarried status after the birth of their first child. 

Share first-born children of unmarried mothers by age of the mother at first delivery

Share first-born children of unmarried mothers by age of the mother at first delivery

Teen mums rarely married

Out-of-wedlock children are most common among young mothers. Nine in ten mothers, who had their first child before the age of 20 in 2007 were not married. In the early 1990s the ratio was four in ten. More than half of first-time mothers over the age of 35 are not married.

Share live births of unmarried mothers in Europe, 2006

Share live births of unmarried mothers in Europe, 2006

Netherlands takes up a middle position in Europe

Despite the sharp rise in the number of children born out of wedlock, the Netherlands takes up a middle position in Europe. The number of children born to unmarried parents is particularly high in Northern Europe. More than half of children in Northern Europe are born out of wedlock. In Italy and Greece out-of-wedlock children are much rarer.   

Arie de Graaf