The proportion of babies born out of wedlock has increased more than eightfold in Cyprus since 2000, from 2.3 per cent to 19.1 per cent in 2016, Eurostat data published on Monday show.
Back in 1986 just 0.5 per cent of babies were born out of wedlock in Cyprus, rising only to 1.5 per cent ten years later, in 1996. Now, nearly one-fifth of babies are born to unmarried parents.
Of the 5.1 million babies born in the EU in 2016, the proportion of babies born outside marriage has grown significantly in all member states compared to 2000, but more in Mediterranean member states than in northern Europe.
It has tripled in Malta (from 10.6 per cent to 31.8 per cent) and Italy (from 9.7 per cent to 28 per cent) and doubled in Spain, Greece and Portugal.
Greece, with 9.4 per cent, has the lowest rate of all EU members, followed by Croatia (18.9 per cent) and Cyprus with its 19.1 per cent.
With six in every ten babies born to unmarried parents, France had the largest proportion of live births outside marriage in 2016, closely followed by Bulgaria and Slovenia, both 57.6 per cent.
More than half were also recorded in Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands.
The numbers remained relatively stable in Nordic and Baltic member states.