cubierta_DT 2007_16

PublicationWorking Papers

Maternidad sin matrimonio

Nueva vía de formación de familias en España

Social Sciences > Demography

The rapid increase in nonmarital fertility in Spain reflects the growing dissociation between marriage and reproduction. Marriage, which had already lost its status as the legitimate context for sexual relations, is no longer the exclusive context for procreation. Whereas only two decades ago, the large majority of children were born following the marriage of their parents, nowadays nearly one out of four births takes place in a non marital context. Although this proportion is below the levels prevailing in most European countries, unmarried motherhood is no longer an exceptional path to family formation in Spain.

This study describes the recent evolution of nonmarital fertility in Spain as well as the changing demographic and social profile of unmarried mothers. The analysis shows that unmarried women give birth at older ages than in the past, that second and third births outside wedlock are increasingly frequent, that a large majority of nonmarital births are recognized by the father, and that the contribution of foreign women to nonmarital fertility is on the rise. The link between cohabitation and out-of-wedlock fertility has also become stronger: 42% of nonmarital first children are currently born to cohabiting parents.