Ireland near top of table for one-parent families

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

Almost one in four children in Ireland come from a lone parent household, compared to the EU average of just one in seven.

And while some countries like Latvia, Estonia and Britain have a similar figure to that in Ireland, others like Spain and Greece only have one in 14 and one in 20 children respectively living with one parent.

The percentage of children in Ireland living with both parents but where the parents are unmarried, is one of the EU’s lowest.

Just one in 14 Irish children are from a household where the parents are cohabiting, compared to about one in four in Sweden, Estonia, France and Slovenia.

The figures come from a study on living arrangements within the EU which shows marriage is still the favoured setting for rearing children here, with more than two-thirds of children living in a household with married parents.

But a second report, the Central Statistics Office’s annual yearbook, shows the number of marriages registered here did fall slightly last year, down from 21,541 to 20,635.

While divorce numbers also fell, from 3,341 to 3,113, the number of divorces has been rising by an average of 14% per year during the past decade.

The CSO report gives a detailed insight into the life of the nation in 2010, confirming that we lost jobs, income, trade and tourists in another year of recession.

There have been some improvements despite the economic woes, with clean air initiatives benefiting from a 12.5% fall in greenhouse gases over the past decade and a 36% decrease in sulphur dioxide — the pollutant that causes acid rain.

The flipside of that is the downturn in industrial output, a key contributor to emissions, with the likes of the construction industry slumping by a further 30%.

There are upsides and downsides to many of the statistics. While prices for clothing and footwear dropped 9.4%, prices of gas and electricity rose by 9.6%.

And while the majority of households in the west had a peaceful year, with 5.6% saying they had experienced crime, their city counterparts in Dublin were more than twice as likely to be victims, with 12.4% saying they had suffered crime over the same period.

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