International Day of Families

In 40 years, the share of families without children up by almost one half

In the 1981–2021 period, the share of the population living in families decreased, the average number of children in families decreased, and the ratios between the most common family types also changed.

  • 11 May 2022 at 10:30
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In Slovenia, data on families have been monitored by official statistics for 40 years, from 1981 on. During this time, the society and way of life in Slovenia changed, which is also reflected in figures. Let’s take a look at how the types and frequencies of family nuclei have changed over four decades.

A smaller share of the population lives in families than before

Forty years ago, 88% of the population lived in families, and since then the share of people living alone has more than doubled, and the share of those living in institutional households, which statistically do not count as a family, has increased as well. In 2021, 80% of the population of Slovenia lived in families as defined by statistics.

The increase in the share of population living alone is linked to an aging population. The share of the oldest population (aged 80 or over) has tripled in the last four decades, and this is the group that most commonly lives alone or in institutional households (retirement homes).

Many foreign citizens in Slovenia also live alone. These are often men who came to Slovenia by themselves, i.e. without a family, for the purpose of employment. In the last ten years alone, the share of foreign nationals in the population has doubled.

Fewer children in families

In four decades, the share of families without children has increased from 21% to 30%, and the share of families with two or more children has decreased. One in three families used to have two children, today one in four. The share of large families, i.e. those with 3 or more children, also decreased (from 10% to 6%). However, the share of families with one child remained roughly the same (37% in 1981, 39% in 2021). On average, the number of children in families with children decreased from 1.70 to 1.56 children.

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The increase in the share of families without children can also be partly linked to the increasing life expectancy and population ageing: today, more couples reach old age together and thus form a family longer.

The share of families of married couples with children halved

In 1981, 63% of all families were spouses with children. This type of family was the most common in 2021, too, but it represented only a third of all families (34%). In four decades, the share of families of unmarried couples with children increased from 1% to 13%, and the share of single-parent families from 14% to 23%.

This is a reflection of societal changes, which are also indicated in, for example, the growing share of children born to unmarried mothers: in 1980, one in seven or eight children was born to unmarried mothers, and since 2007 more than half of all children have been born to unmarried mothers. 

Similar changes are also shown in the rising share of families of unmarried couples without children: 1% in 1981 and 5% in 2021.

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When making use of the data and information of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, always add: "Source: SURS". More: Copyright.