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Families with children in the EU

31/05/2017

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Last year, the European Union (EU) totalled 220 million households, almost a third of which (65.6 million) had dependent children.

In this news item we will be using the term "child" to mean a dependent child. A dependent child is any child aged below 15, or any person aged between 15 and 24, who is socially and economically dependent on another household member (parent or adult).

Among the EU Member States, the highest proportion of households with children was recorded in Ireland (41%), ahead of Cyprus and Poland (both 38%), Malta, Portugal and Slovakia (all 36%).

In contrast, only about a fifth of households had children in Germany and Finland (22%), followed by Sweden (25%), Austria (26%) and Greece (27%).

 

Proportion of families with three or more highest in Ireland, lowest in Portugal

The vast majority of Member States' families consisted of households having one child. The only exceptions were the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland and Denmark, where the percentage of households with two children was higher.

The highest share of households with three or more children was registered in Ireland (27%), followed by Finland (20%), Belgium (19%), France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (all 17%). In contrast, fewer than 10% of households with children had at least three children in Bulgaria (5%), Portugal (6%), Spain and Italy (both 8%), the Czech Republic and Lithuania (both 9%).

At EU level, almost half of all households with children (47%, or 31 million households) had only one child, while 40% (26 million) had two children, and 13% (8.5 million) three children or more.

 

Highest proportion of lone parent families in Denmark, lowest in Croatia

The lowest proportions of single adults with children were found in Croatia (5% of all households with dependent children), Romania (7%), Greece and Slovakia (both 8%).

Conversely, with about 1 in every 3 families being a lone parent family, Denmark (30%) recorded the highest proportion of single adult households with children, followed by Lithuania (28%), Sweden (25%), the United Kingdom 21%), France and Latvia (both 20%).

At EU level, 15% of families were made up of single parents with children.

 

This news item marks Global Parents Day, celebrated on 1 June.