Ireland "highest number of children raised by lone parents": EurostatThursday, November 3rd, 2011
Ireland and Latvia have the highest percentage of children living with a lone parent in the EU, new figures published last week show.
The figures, produced by Eurostat, the EU's official statistics bureau, showed that in 2008, 23 per cent of children in both Ireland and Latvia were raised by single parents. The average figure for the EU as a whole was 14 per cent. Estonia and the United Kingdom had the next highest number at 21 per cent each.
The figures show that in 2008, 74 per cent of children in the EU lived with two married parents, while 14 per cent lived in a single-parent household and 12 per cent in a household with cohabitating parents. In Ireland, 67.8 per cent of children lived with their two married parents, substantially lower than the EU. In addition to the 23 per cent of Irish children who live with a lone parent, another 7.4 per cent live with cohabiting parents.
The countries with the lowest number of children living with two married parents were Estonia and Sweden (both 54 per cent). Greece (92 per cent) and Cyprus (89 per cent) had the highest percentages of children living with both married parents. Only 4.3 per cent of Greek children live with a lone parent.
In Italy, 82.1 per cent of children live with their two married parents, 6.3 per cent live with cohabiting parents, and 10.8 per cent with one parent. In Spain, 83.9 per cent of children live with both married parents, 7.8 per cent with cohabiting parents and 7.1 per cent with a lone parent.
Households consisting of cohabitating parents with children were most common in Sweden (27 per cent), Estonia (23 per cent), France (21 per cent) and Slovenia (20 per cent). The figures also show the number of men and women aged 65 and over living on their own. The EU average for women is 41.2 per cent. In Ireland it is 38.8 per cent. But in Denmark it is 57 per cent, in Finland 52 per cent and Sweden 51 per cent.
One in five men over 65 in the EU live alone. The Irish figure is 23.4 per cent. Only in Denmark (31 per cent), the United Kingdom (27 per cent) and Sweden (26 per cent) did more than one quarter of men live alone. Meanwhile, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of births outside wedlock has remained above 30 per cent since 2001.
The figures show that, in 2009, there were 24,532 births outside marriage, which represented 33 per cent of all births. This compares to 18,114 births outside marriage in 2001, which represented 31.3 per cent of all births in that year. The figures also show that the age at which women get married continues to rise. In 1994, the average age at which women married was 27.1. By 2006, it had risen to 31.2.
The report also shows that the number of women looking after children at home has declined substantially in the last decade. In 2001, there were 569,000 women working in the home, which represented 38.5 per cent, or nearly four out of every ten women. By 2009, this number had declined to 531,000, which represented 29.7 per cent, just fewer than three out of every ten women. This is a decline of almost 10 per cent.
by Tom O'Gorman