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Despite Declining Birth Rate: More Children Living with Single Parents

Chart of the Month – February 2013

Regardless of the continuing decline in birth rates in Germany, the number of minor children living with a single parent has increased over the past few years. In 1996, about 1.9 million children under the age of 18 were living with a single parent as opposed to 2.2 million in 2011. However, when comparing Eastern and Western Germany, the numbers differ: In Western Germany, the number of minor children in single-parent households rose from 1.3 million in 1996 to 1.7 million in 2011. Quite contrary in Eastern Germany: Here, it actually decreased from 550.000 to 500.000. This has been calculated by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) on the basis of the micro census.

Despite declining numbers in Eastern Germany, single parenting still plays an important role. 23.6% of minor children grow up in so-called single-parent families, considerably less in Eastern Germany with 17.1%. BiB-researcher Dr. Evelyn Grünheid interprets these differing numbers as follows: “In Western Germany, the traditional concept of family is still prevailing in which marriage with children plays an important role. In Eastern Germany, however, other parental living arrangements are more common.” For this reason, most single parents in Western Germany are divorced whereas in Eastern Germany, most single parents are unmarried.


The picture shows a bar chart which illustrates the number of minor children living with single parents in 1996 and 2011 for Eastern and Western Germany Number of Minor Children Living with Single Parents

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