Volume 30 - Article 52 | Pages 1445–1462  

Births to single mothers: Age- and education-related changes in Poland between 1985 and 2010

By Zuzanna Brzozowska


Background: In Poland the share of non-marital births has increased steadily for more than two decades. Studies differentiating between births to unmarried partnered and unpartnered women are rare.

Objective: This paper examines the age- and education-related changes in the share of births to unpartnered women in a setting characterised by a rising non-marital birth ratio.

Methods: I use Polish birth registers for the years 1985 to 2011, which cover all births between 1985 and 2010 and contain some information on the parents (e.g., date of birth, education, and marital status at the time of the child’s birth).

Results: In the analysed period the share of births to unpartnered women was stable at a level of 3%-5% of all births. Substantial increases were only noted among the least educated and teenage mothers, whose values exceeded 20% and 30%, respectively, in 2010. The share of teenagers among unpartnered mothers rose from around a quarter to more than one-third.

Conclusions: In Poland the share of births to unpartnered women remained stable in the period 1985- 2010, but the number of the youngest and least educated mothers in this share increased.

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