Almost half of the Dutch newborns have an unmarried mother


Western Europe


A mother plays with her child at a park. Photo AFP, Yuri Kadobnov

Almost one in two newborns in the Netherlands was born to an unmarried mother last year.

In total, 42 per cent of the babies born in 2022 did not have married parents, new statistics of the Dutch agency CBS show. That means that almost 71,000 children were born out of wedlock.

According to the statistics agency, the study results show a huge discrepancy with the graphs of the 60s and 70s when almost all mothers were married when their children were born. Since the 80s, more and more mothers were not married. However, parents often have a registered partnership, even though this was registered as “married” in the latest statistics.

In addition, many unmarried mothers still live together with a partner, CBS concludes. A third of the newborns had parents who cohabited but were not married. And it seems they often stay together after the birth of their child. Parents with two or more children are unmarried in 37 per cent of the cases.

One in ten children is born to a single mother. This is a significant change from the 70s when this was a rarity.

Teenage mother

Young mothers and older mothers are relatively often unmarried when they have a child. In 2022, nine out of ten teenage mothers were unmarried. In the group of 20- to 25-year-olds, this percentage was at 60. In contrast, most babies born to a mother between 25 and 40 years old do have married parents. After the age of 40, mothers of a newborn are relatively often unmarried again.

Of the teenage mothers, a majority still live at home. That means the baby becomes part of a three-generation household: the baby, the teenage mum and her parents.

Bible Belt

The Dutch Bible Belt stands out when it comes to unmarried mothers. In it, relatively few babies are born to unwed parents. In large cities, on the contrary, mothers are relatively often unmarried when they have a child.



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