Quarter of children in lone-parent households

IRELAND has one of the highest rates in Europe of children living in single-parent households.

Despite Ireland’s history as a staunchly Catholic country, where the traditional family of married parents living with their children was a long-held convention, a new EU-wide study has revealed that 23.2% of Irish children aged under 18 now come from a lone-parent household.

It is the second highest rate in the EU after Latvia (23.3%) and well above the EU average of 13.6%.

In contrast, the number of children living in single-parent households is just 7% in Spain and 5% in Greece.

The findings are unsurprising, as recent figures by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show a consistent pattern over recent years of one-in-three newborn children being born to unmarried parents.

However, the traditional family of children under 18 living with both married parents, remains the most common living arrangement in Ireland.

Just over two-thirds of children in Ireland live with two married parents.

Nevertheless, Ireland’s rate of 67.8% for children living in the traditional family setting is 6% below the EU average of 73.8%.

The number of families where children live with both married parents is below 60% in some northern European countries including Sweden, Estonia and Latvia.

The practice of children living with two cohabiting parents is less common in Ireland than most other EU countries. Only 7.4% of Irish children live in such households compared to 11.5% of European children on average.

The study shows that 1.6% of Irish children under 18 are living without either parent — again above the EU average of 1.2%.

The survey on living arrangements also revealed that almost 39% of Irish women aged 65 or over live alone, compared to 23.4% of Irish men.

Just over 36% of female pensioners in Ireland live with a partner, compared to 54% of their male counterparts. Almost a quarter of all Irish males and females over 65 live with other relatives or in nursing homes.

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