Families in FranceOn average, a French woman has slightly less than two children, which makes France one of the champions of birth rates in Europe. Nevertheless, the majority of French families are made up of an only child, to the detriment of large families, which have been declining since the 1990s.
Although the nuclear family model remains in the majority, family structures tend to diversify. As most children in France were living with a couple in 2019, there were also around three million children who were raised by single parents. That year, more than 2.4 million households in France were composed of a single mother with children, compared to 556.120 for a single father with children. Thus, the family seems to evolve at the same time as society, although women tend to raise children alone more frequently than men.
The evolution of family structuresIn 2020, the number of marriages amounted to less than 155 thousand, which is the lowest number of marriages ever recorded. The following year, this figure had increased again and reached 220,000.
Nowadays, even though most French people are still traditionally attached to the marital institution, it is no longer considered a necessary step in making a home together. Not only are the majority of children born out of wedlock, but the average age at the first marriage has increased by about eight years for men and women between 2004 and 2020.
On May 17, 2013 France became the 9th European country to allow same-sex marriage. Only a few days after the legalization, the first same-sex marriage was celebrated in the southern city of Montpellier. In 2021, the number of same-sex marriages in France reached 6,000, with the highest number recorded in 2015 with 10,522 marriages. When asked whether children would be happy if raised by two fathers or two mothers, about 70 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative.
But not everyone fits together like a pair of socks. In 2020, there were about 57 thousand recorded divorces, which largely concerned marriages lasting five to nine years. This phenomenon suggests that the longer one is married in France, the least one is willing to get divorced. But what happens after a divorce? Most (47 percent) try to cope with alimony charges, new housing solutions, as well as obtaining custody of their children, others remarry.