Swiss share of births out of wedlock doubles

The number of children born out of wedlock in Switzerland has virtually doubled in the past decade, but the rate remains well below the European average, a report released on Thursday shows.

Swiss share of births out of wedlock doubles
Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images

The share of births to unmarried women amounted to 20.2 percent of the 82,200 recorded in the country in 2012, the federal statistics office said in a report.

That is almost twice the rate in 2002 and marked the first time the 20 percent level had been surpassed, the report said.

By comparison, the rate of births to unmarried parents averaged 39.5 percent across Europe in 2011, the statistics office noted.

Switzerland’s overall birth rate rose 1.7 percent in 2012 from the previous year.

The statistics report highlights that women in Switzerland are continuing to have children for the first time at an older age, while those under the age of 30 are having fewer offspring.

The percentage of women over the age of 35 giving birth to newborns jumped to 30 percent last year from 22 percent in 2001.

Women are also waiting longer to have children, with the average age for giving birth for the first time rising to 30.4 years in 2012 from 28.9 years in 2001.

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European arrivals swell Swiss population stats

The number of foreigners living in Switzerland rose 2.9 percent in August compared to a year ago, with the rise driven by arrivals from European countries.

As at August 31st 2011, 1.751 million foreigners were living in Switzerland, making up 22.3 percent of the country’s seven million population.

The population of Europeans grew fastest, rising 4 percent from a year ago. As a result, some 1.29 million inhabitants now living in Switzerland originate from the 27 member states of the European Union, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The population of non-Europeans also grew, but by just 0.8 percent to 621,663.

The fastest growing nationalities were German with numbers rising 14,395, Portuguese up 9,816, and French increasing by 4,388.

The number of Kosovo citizens also grew by 17,864, although the sharp rise was due to former Serbians who have changed their nationalities. The jump in the registered Kosovo citizens was coupled with a decrease of 19,100 Serbians in Switzerland.

Italians make up the biggest foreign community in Switzerland with 289,555 people, followed by the Germans with 272,906 and Portuguese with 220,446.