Nearly 45% of babies in the Netherlands are born to unmarried parents, continuing a trend that began in the 1990s, according to latest figures from Statistics Netherlands.
The proportion for firstborn babies is even higher, with 52% born to parents who are unmarried and have no registered partnership. However, in 90% of such cases the child’s father was known and named on the birth certificate.
The figures showed strong regional variations in the number of children born within marriage, with Groningen recording the lowest rate at around 40%. In the strict Protestant communities of Urk and Staphorst the figure was higher than 90%.
Before the 1980s more than 95% of children were born to parents who were married or registered as partners. By 2000 the proportion had dropped to 75% and in 2008 it fell to less than six in 10. The overall birth rate has fallen steadily from its millennial peak of 206,000 to just over 170,000 last year.
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