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One third of children born out of wedlock
Photo: DPA

One third of children born out of wedlock

Published: 12 Aug 2011 14:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Aug 2011 14:07 GMT+02:00

The figures released by the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) on Friday showed that 33 percent of the roughly 678,000 children born last year were born to parents that were not married.

In 1990 the figure was less than half this share – just 15 percent. Last year’s figure was a half percentage point rise on 2009.

But there was a massive gulf between eastern and western German states. Some 61 percent of babies born last year in the former communist East were to unmarried parents, compared to 27 percent in the West.

The eastern states of Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had the highest rate of birth outside wedlock, each with 64 percent, followed by Brandenburg with 62 percent. The lowest rate was in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg with 22 percent, followed by Hesse and Bavaria, each with 26 percent.

One interesting trend is that many couples get married after having children, or at least after their first child. Some 43 percent of first-born children last year were out of wedlock. One in five couples marrying last year already had at least one child.

The figures put Germany actually below the European average. Across the European Union, 38 percent of children born in 2009 were out of wedlock. Estonia had the highest rate, with 59 percent while the lowest was Greece with just 7 percent.

DAPD/The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:53 August 12, 2011 by aymon
Dictionary definition of Bastard:

bas·tard

n. 1. A child born out of wedlock.
16:06 August 12, 2011 by aspiadas
I have a couple of bas.tards
18:47 August 12, 2011 by storymann
And the point???
19:30 August 12, 2011 by bigpainingermany
It is better to have a child been born in wedlock and survive than been marriage and have a child slaughter to death in Frankfurt am Main. People I manage to explained what happen to my child in the hands of those Murdered offen say to me what happened to your child was just a murder. Does it happen in Germany? eventhough one says it happens in Frankfurt am Main.
20:21 August 12, 2011 by marimay
Huh, what? :/
21:32 August 12, 2011 by danceswithgoats
A recipe for low performance and societal/cultural collapse is a high number of out of wedlock births. Even with the high rate of abortions in Germany; still 33% are born out of wedlock. Compare out of wedlock birth rates by ethnic/racial group in the US with academic achievement and see what you find. A mitigating factor may be that many of the out of wedlock births are by older mothers that may be more financially stable. Nonetheless, this only is part and parcel of the catastrophic demographics of Germany and most of W. Europe. Remember, the future belongs to those that show up for it. Somewhere between abortion, out of wedlock births, and Kindergeld; Germany must find a future.
23:56 August 12, 2011 by zmoke
Do you need be married with the children's mother if you the father...? Or is child out of wedlock if you are not?

I thinks that's normal setup with grown up germans atleast in south.

These german rednecks have habits from stone age.
01:22 August 13, 2011 by Joshen
@danceswithgoats

I think you are overreacting a bit. As it said in the article this shows on a shift in social norms. Marriage is not as important to young people these days. Does it mean that more of these "bastards" are being born into unstable families? No, not necessarily. I think they are being born into familys where the parents are not seing marriage as a crucial ingredient to being a family.

Being born out of wedlock doesn't necessarily mean that you where concieved at a one-night-stand! This is not the 18th century.
11:32 August 13, 2011 by danceswithgoats
Joshen - so, are they being born into "stable" homes? I would be willing to be that some are and most are not. England is getting a taste of what happens when "social norms" shift.

I am sure that most are not born out of one-night-stands.
20:34 August 13, 2011 by Joshen
@danceswithgoats

I agree that some are while some are not. That is the reason why I wrote "not necesserily". Bottom line is that I think that it is a false assumption that a family that gets kids without being married is more unstable than one with married parents.
21:49 August 13, 2011 by catjones
Not to mention children born into a wedded household only to end up with a divorced parent. Marriage does not produce stability. What's the difference if you are born to a single parent or end up with one?
13:55 August 15, 2011 by LecteurX
There are lots of unmarried couples who stay together longer than the married ones! Being born out of wedlock does not mean the same as being born to a single mother.

It's so annoying, always the same story: you get a "society" article, all the conservatives immediately get on their moral high horse and produce unfounded theories out of thin air or Bronze Age principles. Let's look at some FACTS (you know, tangible evidence) first. Here are some countries with much higher out-of-wedlock birthrates, or OOW (as of 2007) than Germany has, and see the fertility rate (F, 2005-2010 according to UN):

Iceland: OOW = 66% - F = 2,05 kids per woman

Sweden: OOW = 55%, F = 1,8 kid per woman

Norway: OOW = 54%; F = 1,85 kid per w.

France: OOW = 50%; F= 1,9 kid per w.

Denmark: OOW = 46%; F = 1,8 kid p. w.

Netherlands: OOW = 40%; F = 1,72 kid p. w.

Ireland: OOW = 33%; F = 2 kids p. w.

I willingly left out the UK and US. All these are not countries currently in a situation of "demographic collapse" as Germany is. These are different countries with different cultures (well we see a trend with the Nordic / Scandinavian ones there but we also have Catholic Ireland and secular France in the list, + UK and US).

There's no point being simplistic here; because there's no simple, one-size-fits-all explanation. However, thanks for trying Joshen, but I don't think you'll manage to convince people who disagree with you that married couples are not necessarily more stable or happier or better performing than unmarried ones. I do agree with you, but usually people make up their minds regardless of facts they are presented with... Here are my sources for the stats, btw

For OOW birthrates by country: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimacy_(law)#Current_trends

For Fertility rates by woman and by country: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_fertility_rate
15:59 August 15, 2011 by Wise Up!
Results of a socialist welfare state; where the gov't takes over the role of provider and the biological father is made irrelevant. Germany is becoming a Third World country that's so in debt and so dependent.
22:07 August 18, 2011 by yourholiness
What matters most is whether the father is around on a daily basis.
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