Cyprus has the second lowest proportion of live births outside marriage in the EU, the latest Eurostat figures show.
According to the figures, Greece has the lowest percentage with 11.1 per cent, followed by Cyprus with 20.3 per cent and Croatia with 20.7 per cent.
Along with Lithuania and Poland, these are the EU countries where more than 70 per cent of births occurred within marriages.
In 2018, extramarital births outnumbered births inside marriages in eight EU member states: France (60 per cent), Bulgaria (59 per cent), Slovenia (58 per cent), Portugal (56 per cent), Sweden (55 per cent), Denmark and Estonia (both 54 per cent) as well as the Netherlands (52 per cent).
The proportion of live births outside marriage in the EU stood at 42 per cent in 2018. This is 17 percentage points above the value in 2000.
In Cyprus, it rose from 2.3 per cent in 2000 to 20.3 per cent in 2017. In the 60s, 70s and 80s the proportion was less than 1 per cent, and in the 90s between 1 and 2 per cent, making it the lowest among the 27 countries surveyed over the years.
“It [the increase] signals new patterns of family formation alongside the more traditional model where children were born within a marriage. Extramarital births occur in non-marital relationships, among cohabiting couples and to lone parents,” Eurostat reported.
Extramarital births increased in almost every EU country in 2018 compared to 2000. The exceptions are Estonia, Latvia and Sweden that remained relatively stable with less than 1 percentage point decrease. The Iberian countries, Portugal and Spain, were the two countries where births outside marriage rose the most between 2000 and 2018 (+33.7 and +29.6 percentage points respectively).