Increase in unmarried mothers

Last year, about 60,000 babies were born in New Zealand and almost half of the mothers were not married. These are the numbers for last year: 32,019 mothers were married and 29,159 were not married. About 80% of Maori mothers, 50% of European mothers and 13% of Asian mothers of new-born babies were not married.

Times have changed in 50 years. In 1963, only 8% of mothers were not married; last year the figure was 48%.

New Zealand is not the only country where marriage is becoming less popular. The same thing is happening in many western countries. One possible reason is that fewer people are religious today and they feel that a marriage ceremony is not so important. They often choose to live together in a stable relationship without getting married.

However, relationships tend to last a shorter length of time these days and often some children in a family have a different father or mother. There are more blended families – a mother with children forms a relationship with a father who has children. There are also more single parents.

What is important, however, is that children are loved and cared for. It is usually better for children to have two parents, living in a stable relationship.


• stable – peaceful, not changing
• tend (v), tendency (n) – move towards, lead to
• blended – mixed


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