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Archive:Marriages and births in the Czech Republic

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Family pattern in the Czech Republic – first children later and outside marriage


Author: Michaela Němečková, Roman Kurkin, Terezie Štyglerová (Czech Statistical Office, Population Statistics Department)
Data extracted in December 2015.

This article on marriages and births is part of a pilot project implemented by Eurostat together with the Member States. The aim of the pilot project is to better reply to user's needs by complementing the Eurostat article presenting data on an EU level with more detailed information on the same topic, but at national level. Articles from the participating Member States are available in the corresponding national languages as well as in English and they form, together with the Eurostat article, an online publication.

After sharp changes, which began in the early 1990s, the demographic pattern of the Czech Republic is stabilizing. People marry less often and later, remain single more frequently and prefer cohabitation. However, still more than half of the population aged 20 and over is married. The divorce rate in general trend stopped to increase and stagnates at 45-50% of marriages terminating in divorce. The total fertility rate reached its minimum values (slightly above 1.1) at the turn of the 21st century, but it partly reflected a significant shift of motherhood to the later age. The level of the lowest-low fertility was left only in 2006. The share of children born outside marriage has been continually increasing and it is approaching 50 percent.

Figure 1: Structure of population aged 20 and over by marital status, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 2: Structure of population by age and marital status, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 3: Structure of population by sex, age and marital status, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 4: Marriages and crude marriage rate, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 5: Mean age at first marriage by sex, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 6: Marriages by calendar month, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 7: Divorces and crude divorce rate, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 8: Share of people in consensual unions out of people living in couple by sex and age (%), Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 9: Live births and live births within marriage, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 10: Total fertility rate and mean age of women at birth of first child, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Figure 11: Age-specific fertility rates total and first birth order, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
File:Table 1 Divorces by duration of marriage (%), Czech Republic.png
Table 1: Divorces by duration of marriage (%), Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office
Table 2: Share of live births outside marriage (%) by birth order, Czech Republic
Source: Czech Statistical Office

Main statistical findings

Already a quarter of population aged 20 and over is single

According to the 2011 Population and Housing Census results more than half (52.8%) of the Czech population aged 20 and over was married. Exactly a quarter of the population was single, while the divorced people made up 12.8% of the population and widowed persons accounted for 9.1% of the Czech population. In the context of the European Union, the Czech Republic belongs among countries with the highest proportion of divorced people in the adult population (a total of 7.4% of the EU citizens were divorced on the Census day), when higher share was only in Latvia and Estonia.

There was a significant decrease in the share of married people in the population of the Czech Republic in time between 2001 Census and 2011 Census – from 60.1% to 52.8%; on the contrary the proportion of single persons grew from 19% to 25%. The share of divorced inhabitants increased from 10.3% to 12.8% and the proportion of widowed people slightly decreased from 9.9% to 9.1%. These changes were closely related to the decrease in nuptiality (incl. remarriage rate), rise in divorce rate, diversification of forms of family life and decline in mortality.

The vast majority (95%) of the population of the CR aged 20-24 did not experience a marriage. However, the share of never married persons was decreasing with an increasing age – in age group 30-34 years the proportion of single persons was already less than half and those being married moderately prevailed. The highest share of married persons – almost 70% – was in the age from 55 to 64 years. Among the elderly the proportion of married people was dropping in favour of widowed persons. More than half of the population aged 75 and over were widowed. Divorced people were most common in the population aged between 40 and 54, where they made up around 22% of the population.

There are significant gender differences in the structure of the population by marital status. Men aged 20 and over were more often single (30.2% of them) than women (20.0%), which was true for all five-year age groups. The most distinct differences were in age categories between ages 20 and 39. In the population aged 20 and over men had higher share than women also as far as the percentage of married persons was concerned (54.8% vs. 51.0%), which resulted from the higher proportion of married men in older age groups (especially 60 years and over), where women were more often widowed. The relative weight of widowed people was the most gender-differentiated: widowed women accounted for 14.7% of the women population aged 20 and over, while widowed men accounted for only 3.1% of the men population. On the contrary, the proportions of divorced men and women were the closest: 14.1% among women and 11.5% among men.

First marriage 4 years later than at the turn of the century

The number of marriages has a long-term decreasing trend. After 2000, the strongest decline was between 2008 and 2011. While 52–53 thousand marriages a year were entered into at the beginning of the 21st century, it was 43.5 thousand in 2013, which was the lowest figure in the history of the Czech demographic statistics. The crude marriage rate (number of marriages per 1,000 inhabitants) went down from 5.4‰ to 4.1‰ between 2000 and 2013.

A decrease in the number of marriages resulted from the decline in size of the population of the marriageable age as well as from the decrease in intensity of nuptiality. According to the data of the nuptiality life tables, only approximately 60% of women and 53% of men will enter into the first marriage before reaching the age of 50 provided unchanged actual conditions, while it was 74% (women) and 69% (men) in 2000. Until the beginning of the 1990s even 90-95% of the population entered into a marriage in the CR. Nowadays, men and women enter into their first marriage in the later age than before. Mean age at first marriage increased by almost 4 years between 2000 and 2013 for both men and women. In 2013 the mean age at first marriage was 31.3 years for grooms (27.6 in 2000) and 28.5 years for brides (24.6 in 2000). Women enter into marriage on average by three years earlier than men.

In the Czech Republic, the marriages have always been seasonally (by month of occurrence) distributed very unequally. In the long past, the seasonality was formed by agricultural year and liturgical calendar but at present the most important factors are probably weather conditions and possibilities of arranging of the wedding ceremony. The wedding is mostly held on Saturday (71% in 2013) or Friday (22%). The engaged couple usually choose the wedding date themselves and often choose exceptional date (for example on 2007/07/07 the highest number of marriages in 25-year history was entered into).

For many years the lowest number of marriages was registered in May. This was influenced by a superstition (that if the woman marries in May, she will be at risk of her death). Only since 2001 the popularity of this month has been rising and May has been replaced by January on the position of the least popular month for wedding. Since 2008 the number of marriages entered into in May has been even higher than e.g. the number of those entered into in March but the number is still below-average. The least popular season for wedding in the CR is generally the winter, i.e. months January, February and December. On the contrary, the most frequent months for wedding are June, July, August and September. In these four months almost two thirds of all marriages are entered into; the peak is usually in June.

Increase in divorce rate of long-lasting marriages

As a consequence of a decrease in the number of marriages the number of divorces decreased too: from 30–33 thousand registered in the years 2000–2004 to 26–28 thousand in 2011–2013. The crude divorce rate went down from 2.9–3.2‰ to 2.5–2.7‰. However, the divorce rate in the Czech Republic is still one of the highest in Europe.

The total divorce rate (the share of marriages terminated in divorce provided unchanged duration-specific divorce rates) ranges between 45 and 50% in the CR in the 21st century. At the same time the average duration of marriage at divorce prolonged (to 13.0 year in 2013) as a result of an increase in the number of divorces of long-lasting marriages (lasted 20 years or longer) while the share of divorces of short-lasting marriages decreased.

Living in cohabitation more popular than marriage only among the youngest couples

According to 2011 Census the proportion of people who were living in cohabitations (respectively in consensual unions) in the Czech Republic was below the EU average: in the CR the share of cohabiting persons in the population aged 20 and over was 5.7% (a total of 473 420 persons), but in the whole EU this share stood at 8.8%. In the EU the percentage of people who declared to be living in consensual union was higher in age group 20-29 years (15%) than in age group 30-49 years (12.6%), while in the Czech Republic these shares were equal, namely 8.1%. In the age 50 and over only 2.8% of people lived in consensual union in the Czech Republic at time of the last census.

The consensual unions made up 11.3% of all couples (at time of 2011 Census). The consensual unions were most common in the younger age groups: almost two thirds of people aged 20-24 who were living in a couple were in consensual union. The share of those who were living in marriage was growing with an increasing age – in age category 30-34 years the proportion of cohabiting persons was only 22%. The consensual union was more frequent form of living in couple among men than women with exception of elderly. This gender difference was most noticeable in age group 25-29 years, where cohabiting men accounted for 47.5% of all men living in couple, while in case of women those represented only 37.1%.

First child, then marriage

In the 1990s the number of live births dropped down as a consequence of political, social and economic changes in the Czech society. Women postponed their maternity and devoted to education, career, arranging their own housing etc. more often than earlier. In 1999, the lowest number of live births in the Czech history was registered (89.5 thousand). The number of live births started to increase at the beginning of the 21st century and the revival in fertility intensity came particularly in 2004–2008, when the number of live births rose to 120 thousand reached in 2008. But in the next years the annual numbers of live births were again lower, mainly due to economic crisis and decrease in the number of women at reproductive age: there were 117–118 thousand live births per year in 2009–2010 and 107–109 thousand in 2011–2013.

At the same time the structure of women at childbirth by their marital status changed. The number and proportion of unmarried mothers at birth was increasing and the rise in the share of live births outside marriage became one of the most significant features of the demographic development in the CR in the last two decades. Until the 1990s the share of children born to unmarried mothers was below 10%, in 2000 it was 22% and in 2013 it was already 45%. The share increased in all birth orders. The highest proportion of live births outside marriage is typical for the first birth order (almost 56% in 2013), the lowest one for the second birth order (33% in 2013). The fact, that some women get married after giving a birth to the first child, is confirmed by the higher mean age of women at the first marriage as against the mean age at birth of the first child.

The total fertility rate had the similar development as the number of live births. It increased from the historical minimum of 1.13 children per woman in 1999 to 1.50 in 2008, when the most significant increases were between 2004 and 2008. The total fertility rate in 2013 stood at 1.46 children per woman, i.e. still at the so called low fertility level.

From 2000 to 2013 the mean age of women at childbirth was continually rising; at the beginning of the 21st century the y-o-y increases were high (on average by 0.3 per year up to 2007), after 2010 they were already lower (by 0.1 per year). In total the mean age of women at childbirth increased from 27.2 to 29.9 years, i.e. by 2.7 years between 2000 and 2013. The age of the highest fertility intensity shifted from 26 to 30 years; the fertility of 35-39 year-old women increased almost three times.

Similarly, the timing of the birth of the first child changed. In 2000, the highest number of the first order children per 1,000 women was at the age of 24 years, whereas in 2013 it was at the age of 29. The mean age of women at birth of the first child increased from 25.0 to 28.1 years from 2000 to 2013, i.e. by more than 3 years. In 2013, women had the second order child at the age of 31.0 years on average (in 2000 at the age of 28.1). The age of women who gave a birth to a child of the third or higher birth order changed the least markedly: in 2013 their mean age was 33.2 years whereas in 2000 it was 31.7 years.

See also

External links