Eurostat: Close to two-thirds of births in Bulgaria in 2022 were extramarital

Close to two-thirds of births in Bulgaria in 2022 were outside marriage, according to new data posted by European Union statistics agency Eurostat.

This rate was largely unchanged compared with 2021 and 2020.

Eurostat said that in the EU, the proportion of live births outside marriage has shown an increasing trend in the past decades, more than doubling since 1993 (17.7  per cent) when these data were first available in the EU.

In 2022 this proportion was estimated at 42.2  per cent, meaning that 57.8  per cent of children were born inside marriage. This share reflects changes in patterns of family formation alongside the more traditional pattern where children were born within marriage. Extramarital births occur in non-marital relationships, among cohabiting couples, to lone parents and in registered partnerships.

Extramarital births outnumbered births inside marriage in seven of the EU Member States for which data are available, notably France (where 65.2  per cent of births occurred outside marriage), Portugal (60.2  per cent), Bulgaria (59.9  per cent), Sweden (57.8  per cent), Slovenia (57.3  per cent), Estonia (55.0  per cent) and Spain (50.1  per cent). Greece was at the other end of the spectrum where more than 80  per cent of births occurred within marriage.

Looking at the latest available data, extramarital births increased in 14 of the available EU member states in 2022 compared with 2021, remaining unchanged in Bulgaria, Eurostat said.

On the other hand, the indicator decreased between 2021 and 2022 in six Member States, the highest decrease can be observed in the Netherlands (from 55.6  per cent in 2021 to 42.1  per cent in 2022).

“The Covid-19 pandemic does not seem to have impacted the percentage of babies born outside marriage,” Eurostat said.

In 2020 at EU level, a slight drop was observed when compared to 2019, from 42.7  per cent to 41.9  per cent.

Nevertheless, during the same period that rate increased in 19 Member States for which data are available, albeit with small margins, with the largest rise observed in Estonia from 53.7  per cent in 2019 to 56.8  per cent in 2020.

In contrast, five EU countries saw a decrease of the rate of live births outside marriage between 2019 and 2020, notably Germany (from 33.3  per cent to 33.1  per cent), Spain (from 48.4  per cent to 37.1  per cent), Italy (from 35.4  per cent to 33.8  per cent), Hungary (from 38.7  per cent to 30.4  per cent) and Slovenia (from 57.7  per cent to 56.5  per cent).

Comparing 2022 to the last pre-Covid-19 year 2019, the rate of live births outside marriage was rising in all but four EU member states – Lithuania, Hungary, the Netherlands and Slovenia where rates dropped.

The biggest drop was recorded in Hungary (38.7  per cent in 2019 and 25.0  per cent in 2022) and the Netherlands (52.4  per cent in 2019 and 42.1  per cent in 2022), Eurostat said.

(Photo: Niels Timmer/

Please support independent journalism by clicking on the ‘become a member’ button below. For as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies, you can support The Sofia Globe via and get access to exclusive subscriber-only content:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.