Eurostat: Close to two-thirds of births in Bulgaria are outside marriage

Fifty-nine per cent of live births in Bulgaria in 2018 were outside marriage, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said on July 17.

In line with many other European countries, the rate of births outside marriage in Bulgaria has been increasing steadily.

According to Eurostat, in 1960 eight per cent of births in Bulgaria were outside marriage.

The figure rose to 12.4 per cent in 1990, 38.4 per cent in 2000 and 45.7 per cent in 2010.

The proportion of live births outside marriage in the now-27 members of the EU was 42 per cent in 2018. This is 17 percentage points above the value in 2000.

“It signals new patterns of family formation alongside the more traditional model where children were born within a marriage. Extramarital births occur in non-marital relationships, among cohabiting couples and to lone parents,” Eurostat said.

In 2018, extramarital births outnumbered births inside marriages in eight EU countries: France (60 per cent), Bulgaria (59 per cent), Slovenia (58 per cent), Portugal (56 per cent), Sweden (55 per cent), Denmark and Estonia (both 54 per cent) as well as the Netherlands (52 per cent).

Greece and Croatia were at the other end of the spectrum along with Lithuania and Poland as more than 70 per cent of births in each of these member states occurred within marriages.

Extramarital births increased in almost every EU member state in 2018 compared to 2000. The exceptions are Estonia, Latvia and Sweden that remained relatively stable with less than one percentage point decrease.

The Iberian countries, Portugal and Spain, were the two countries where births outside marriage rose the most between 2000 and 2018 (+33.7 and +29.6 percentage points, respectively), Eurostat said.

(Photo: Niels Timmer/

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