In Spain, for the first time, the majority of children are born out of wedlock

Published on Nov 25, 2023 at 2:30 p.m.

This is an underlying trend, even in Spain. Getting married to have children is no longer part of a traditional pattern for families. For the first time, the number of women who became mothers without being married in the Iberian country exceeded in 2022 that of married women who became mothers (165,062 against 164,189, or 50.1% of children were born outside of marriage), reveals El País according to a report published this Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the equivalent of INSEE in Spain.

In France, this change of course was made in 2006. And since then, the phenomenon has only become more pronounced. In 2022, 63.8% of children born were born outside of marriage.

Weddings are always popular

Despite this new data, couples have not yet turned their backs on marriage on the other side of the Pyrenean border. In 2022, the number of marriages reached the highest peak in the last ten years, with 179,107 new unions registered, an increase of 20.5% compared to the previous year, partly due to the rebound after the pandemic but yet the Iberian country is one of the most expensive countries in the world to get married, specifies the leading newspaper in Spain.

Several factors can explain this phenomenon. On the one hand, the number of births is decreasing in Spain. It went from 454,648 in 2021 to 329,251 in 2022 (-27.6%). The fertility rate follows the same curve. Last year, Spanish women had just 1.16 children on average, the lowest record since 1999.

On the other hand, women become mothers later. The average age of the first child is 32.6 years. At the same time, the average age of marriage is increasing year by year. In 2022, it was 39.3 years for men and 36.6 years for women, almost five years above the average age at which Spaniards have their first child. For comparison, the average age of marriage in 2022 in France was 39.6 for men and 37.2 for women.

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