Characteristics of Extramarital Births in Serbia in the Second Half of the 20th and at the Beginning of the 21st Century
Over the last five decades the share of extramarital births in the total number of live births has been increasing in all European countries. This is also true for Serbia (excluding Kosovo), where the share of extramarital births in the period of 1950-2009 increased by 3 times (from 8.0% to 23.2%), and their number increased by a fifth (from 13,141 to 16,294).
Women under 25 years of age and over 40-49 years have a substantially higher share in extramarital births than in the total number of births. Almost every second extramarital child's mother is younger than 25, and changes in the period of 1961-2008 developed in the direction of a decreasing share of women under the age of 30, and especially under 25, as well as an increased share of women above 30. According to the latest data, more than a half of extramarital children are first, although their share is decreasing. At the same time, the percentage of births of second and especially of third and higher orders is increasing.
The share of extramarital births is increasing with all women, regardless of their education level. The highest and constantly growing share of extramarital births is recorded with women without education and the lowest share with women with university education. According to activity, the most represented are unemployed and dependant women, who also have significantly higher shares of extramarital births than employed women. From an ethnic aspect, it is noticeable that the highest and constantly increasing share of extramarital births is present with ethnic Roma women, which reached over four fifths of the total number of children born by Roma women in 2008. Among the ethnic Serbian women the share of extramarital births is significantly below the average for Serbia. According to the type of settlements the share of extramarital births is lower in urban than in other (non-urban) settlements, and in the largest urban agglomerations, including Belgrade, it is even below the average for Serbia. Some significant regional differences can also be noted – the zone of the high share of extramarital fertility is in the east of Serbia, while the zone of lower and medium fertility is in the west of central part of Serbia.
It is assumed that future dynamics in the area of extramarital births in Serbia will develop in a manner similar to that of the last several decades. It can be concluded that this is not a phenomenon related to adopting new values and norms, but primarily a continuation of already present tendencies in an environment with traditional moral norms.
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