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Out-of-wedlock births show huge east-west German divide
Photo: DPA

Out-of-wedlock births show huge east-west German divide

Published: 23 Oct 2009 10:41 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Oct 2009 10:41 GMT+02:00

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany remains firmly divided over family matters. According to a new study, dramatically more children are born out of wedlock in the formerly communist eastern half of the country.

The Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig reported this week that the number of "illegitimate" children in eastern Germany averages 57 percent compared to only 25 percent in the west.

In parts of the southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg – known as Catholic strongholds – only 15 percent of children were born outside of marriage. But in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, some regions showed a whopping 70 percent of births outside of wedlock.

The study said finding an explanation for such a divide is difficult to pinpoint, since even before 1945 there were recognisable differences between eastern and western family structures. While religion may affect statistics, researchers believe the most influential factor was the family policy of communist East Germany, which offered more support for unmarried mothers. In contrast, the West German tax system favoured married couples with children.

The researchers stressed, however, that the increase in the number of children born out of wedlock cannot be equated with a rising amount of single mothers. The majority of unmarried German women with children also live with a partner. In both the east and west, issues such as age and education continue to be the influential factors in single-parent households.

And despite the huge east-west discrepancy, Germany seems united in one respect: the number of parents deciding to forego marriage has been on the rise in both western and eastern Germany for a number of years.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:23 October 24, 2009 by So36
Sheesh. Have none of you people heard of scare quotes? The Local put illegitimate in quotation marks exactly to show how silly that term is:

Main Entry: scare quotes

Function: noun plural

Date: 1960

: quotation marks used to express especially skepticism or derision concerning the use of the enclosed word or phrase
05:53 October 25, 2009 by kiwikraut
They just got more time to "fool around" in the east ! And because of 40 years of atheism under the commies the population there has a more relaxed attitude towards marriage than the conservative cristian people of southern germany.

And as I've been told from several secure sources, the eastern girl are far too easier to lay than the western ones.

Promiscuity has been a national sport in the east as it seems, the statistics speak for themselves as it shows here !
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