Bulgaria’s rate of births outside marriage, at 56 per cent the same as France, puts the country at third place in the European Union for children born outside wedlock, according to statistics for 2011 released in March 2013 by the EU.
The EU statistics recorded a decreasing trend in the number of marriages in the bloc and said that this was reflected in an increase in the percentages of children born outside marriage.
The marriage rate in the 27 member states of the EU has decreased continuously over the past two decades, from 6.3 marriages per 1000 people in 1990 to 5.2 per 1000 in 2000 and 4.4 per 1000 in 2010.
According to the EU statistics, in 2011 the highest marriage rates were recorded in Cyprus(7.3 marriages per 1000 persons), Lithuania (6.3 per 1000) and Malta (6.1 per 1000), and the lowest in Bulgaria (2.9 per 1000), Slovenia (3.2 per 1000), Luxembourg(3.3 per 1000), Spain, Italy and Portugal (all 3.4 per 1000).
The decreasing trend in the number of marriages is also reflected in an increase of children born outside marriage. In 1990, 17 per ent of all live births in the EU27 were outside marriage, compared with 27 per cent in 2000 and 40 per cent in 2011. Over this period, the share of live births outside marriage increased in all EU countries.
There were considerable differences in the share of live births outside marriage across the EU member states. In 1990, almost half of live births were outside marriage in Sweden and Denmark, while it was two per cent or less in Cyprus, Malta and Greece. In 2011, the highest shares were registered in Estonia (60 per cent), Slovenia (57 per cent), Bulgaria and France (both 56 per cent), and the lowest in Greece (seven per cent), Cyprus (17 per cent) and Poland (21 per cent).
In Bulgaria, births outside wedlock have increased from a rate of 12.4 per cent of total live births in 1990 to 38.4 per cent in 2000 to 56.1 per cent in 2011.
Going by the same set of EU statistics, Bulgaria’s divorce rate has increased only slightly – from 1.3 per 1000 persons in 1990 to 1.3 in 2000 to 1.4 in 2011. But over the same period, the rate of marriages has dropped significantly, even sharper than the EU average – from 6.9 in 1990 (when it was higher than the EU average) to 4.3 in 2000 to 2.9 in 2011, the last-mentioned figure about 75 per cent of the EU average.
(Photo: Michal Zacharzewski)