Twice as many unmarried couples having babies in the Netherlands

Twice as many unmarried couples having babies in the Netherlands

Unmarried couples in the Netherlands who live together are increasingly likely to have children, with the rate nearly doubling since 2001, according to Statistics Netherlands.

The composition of families has changed in the Netherlands in the last ten years. More parents are not married and there are fewer large families.

There were 2.3 million families with children younger than 25 living at home in the Netherlands in 2011. This is 73 thousand more than ten years earlier. More and more parents are not married, especially in families in which the youngest child is five years or younger. In 2011 one quarter of these young families had unmarried parents, twice the share in 2001. Getting married before starting a family is thus becoming less and less a matter of course.

There are also more one-parent families than ten years previously. There number rose from 318 thousand in 2001 to 417 thousand in 2011. Teenagers and children over 18, in particular are more likely to grow up with only one of their parents. In 2011, one quarter of families with only children aged over 18 living at home were one-parent families, while this was one in five of these families in 2001.

Added to this, fewer families have three or more children. In 2011, 418 thousand families had three or more children living at home, 30 thousand fewer than in 2001. The number of families with one or two children has risen steadily in the last decade, on the other hand.

Families with three or more children are rare in the south of the province of Limburg. In municipalities Kerkrade and Brunssum 9 percent of families have three or more children at home. At a national level this is 18 percent. In the east of Groningen and the east of Drenthe, too, there are relatively few large families.

Other parts of the Netherlands have relatively large shares of large families. The municipality of Urk leads the field in this respect; half of families there have three or more children. In other municipalities with large orthodox protestant populations, such as Staphorst and Barneveld, there are also relatively many large families.

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