Out-of-wedlock births show huge east-west German divide

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany remains firmly divided over family matters. According to a new study, dramatically more children are born out of wedlock in the formerly communist eastern half of the country.

October 23, 2009 / The Local

The Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig reported this week that the number of "illegitimate" children in eastern Germany averages 57 percent compared to only 25 percent in the west.

In parts of the southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg – known as Catholic strongholds – only 15 percent of children were born outside of marriage. But in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, some regions showed a whopping 70 percent of births outside of wedlock.

The study said finding an explanation for such a divide is difficult to pinpoint, since even before 1945 there were recognisable differences between eastern and western family structures. While religion may affect statistics, researchers believe the most influential factor was the family policy of communist East Germany, which offered more support for unmarried mothers. In contrast, the West German tax system favoured married couples with children.

The researchers stressed, however, that the increase in the number of children born out of wedlock cannot be equated with a rising amount of single mothers. The majority of unmarried German women with children also live with a partner. In both the east and west, issues such as age and education continue to be the influential factors in single-parent households.

And despite the huge east-west discrepancy, Germany seems united in one respect: the number of parents deciding to forego marriage has been on the rise in both western and eastern Germany for a number of years.

Marriage, as the excuse

Isn't it interesting how marriage alters family assignment?  Over the past few years, thanks to some extensive traveling, I have learned unmarried couples make great parents. 

Forty-one years ago, I was relinquished because my well-educated mother was pregnant, but not married.  According to the Catholic Church, she was seen as an "unfit mother".  According to the Catholic Church, a married couple in America made much better parent-material than a single professional who wasn't afraid to travel and live without a spouse. 

I was adopted by a married couple that already had a child, but wanted more, even though the wife had lost the ability to conceive.

The question no one will ever be answer for me is this:  had I been kept by my single-mother, would I have been sexually, emotionally, and physically abused (and neglected), as I was by various members of my chosen adoptive family?

In America, unwed mothers are told adoption is the most loving option they can given their unborn child... and yet, more and more single-(unmarried)-women are choosing to adopt.

According to  divorcerate.org

The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

Sociologists believe that childlessness is also a common cause of divorce. The absence of children leads to loneliness and weariness and even in the United States, at least 66 per cent of all divorced couples are childless.

How many think marital status should be one of the deciding factors that influence a child's final placement? 

How many think not being married is a good excuse not to keep a child, (choosing adoption over abortion)?

How many think not being married, but having a child or two, is not the biggest sin in the world?

I don't think that there

I don't think that there should be a final placement.

I think every child should be kept.

I don't think it's a sin.



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