Back 42% of births in the EU are outside marriage


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The proportion of live births outside marriage in the EU stood at 42% in 2018. This is 17 percentage points above the value in 2000. It signals new patterns of family formation alongside the more traditional model where children were born within a marriage. Extramarital births occur in non-marital relationships, among cohabiting couples and to lone parents.

In 2018, extramarital births outnumbered births inside marriages in eight EU Member States: France (60%), Bulgaria (59%), Slovenia (58%), Portugal (56%), Sweden (55%), Denmark and Estonia (both 54%) as well as the Netherlands (52%).

Greece and Croatia were at the other end of the spectrum along with Lithuania and Poland as more than 70% of births in each of these Member States occurred within marriages.


Infographic: Births outside marriage

Source data: Eurostat demo_find


Extramarital births increased in almost every EU Member State in 2018 compared to 2000. The exceptions are Estonia, Latvia and Sweden that remained relatively stable with less than 1 percentage point decrease. The Iberian countries, Portugal and Spain, were the two countries where births outside marriage rose the most between 2000 and 2018 (+33.7 and +29.6 percentage points respectively).


For more information, take a look at the Statistics Explained article on Marriage and divorce statistics.


Note: The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.


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