Higher educated mothers relatively less often single

Higher educated mothers relatively less often live on their own with one or more children compared to mothers with medium and lower levels of education. Among women with higher qualifications, the percentage share of single mothers has been stable throughout generations, as opposed to an increase seen in younger generations among women with other educational levels. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new figures presented this week by Dr Ruben van Gaalen, professor by special appointment of Register Analyses of Life Course Dynamics at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
Nearly 7 percent of lower educated women born in 1970 did not have a partner at the age of 25, but had one or more children. Among higher educated women, who generally have children later in life, 2 percent were single mothers at that age. Mothers are more likely to live without a partner at a later age. Fifteen percent of lower educated and 4 percent of higher educated women were single mothers at the age of 35. These percentages were 23 and 11 respectively for single mothers at age 45.

Single mothers by level of education, generation 1970, 2015
25 yrs7.42.61
35 yrs14.373.7
45 yrs22.814.910.6

More single mothers seen in younger generations

Mothers from younger generations more frequently become single for a certain amount of time after their children are born than mothers born in 1970. However, this does not apply to the group of higher educated women, where percentages are low, even in the 1980s generation.
Among lower and medium educated women, an increasing proportion of women live on their own with children. Of lower educated women born in 1980, 11 percent had children but no partner at the age of 25. This was 20 percent in women aged 35.

Single mothers by year of birth
Lower educated
25 yrs117
30 yrs1511
35 yrs2014
Medium educated
25 yrs43
30 yrs74
35 yrs117
Higher educated
25 yrs11
30 yrs12
35 yrs44

More unmarried couples with children

Most mothers live together with their partner, to whom they are often married. This applies to lower and medium educated mothers as well as mothers with a higher level of education. Among lower educated mothers born in 1970, 52 percent were married at the age of 35. This percentage amounted to 46 among higher educated mothers. Mothers from younger generations more often live together without being married. At all educational levels, the share of mothers born in 1980 who live together but are unmarried is larger than among those who were born in 1970.

Motherhood and partnership status of 35-year-old women
 SingleMarried or living togetherSingle motherMother living with partnerMarried mother
Lower educated
Generation 19705212.414.39.911.5
Generation 198040.817.220.29.312.5
Medium educated
Generation 197054.911.671412.5
Generation 198045.418.81112.312.5
Higher educated
Generation 197045.713.43.718.518.7
Generation 198044.120.93.815.116.2