More babies born to unmarried parents

Birth rates have remained steady, and so have the number of marriages, but the population has increased Keystone

Overall there were fewer births in Switzerland in 2016 compared to the year prior, but the proportion of births to unwed parents climbed 2.1%.

The Federal Office of Statistics said in its annual population report on Monday that the total number of births in Switzerland fell by about 900 last year – a decrease of 1.1%. But of the approximately 85,600 total births, about 20,200 were outside of wedlock compared to 19,800 in 2015.

In Switzerland, women of childbearing age give birth to on average 1.5 children – a figure that “confirms the stability of fertility” in the country, the report said. A woman in Switzerland is on average 30.9 years old at the time her first child is born.

The statistics office also reported that more Swiss families adopted children last year, with 355 cases compared to 329 in 2015. Most of these were ‘intra-familial’ adoptions, meaning the adoption of a child by one step-parent.

Fewer marriages, but more partnerships

Since the 1990s, the annual number of marriages in Switzerland has hovered around 40,000, but the population has continued to grow, resulting in fewer marriages in proportion to the population. In 2016, 40,800 marriages were celebrated in Switzerland, which is 1.5% less compared to the year before.

As marriage numbers dropped, so did those for divorce, with about 1.1% fewer in 2016 than in 2015. If current trends hold steady, the report estimates that about two marriages in five (40.9%) can be expected to end in divorce over the next few years.

On the other hand, unions between same-sex couples are increasing: 2016 saw 700 registered partnerships in Switzerland, which is an increase of 2.9% over 2015.


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