Families in FranceOn average, a French woman has 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 (76.6 percent), family structures tend to diversify. As most children in France were living with a couple in 2017, there were also around two 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 529,700 for a single father with children. Thus, the family seems to evolve at the same time as society and women tend to raise children alone more frequently than men.
The evolution of family structuresIn 2019, the number of marriages amounted to over 221 thousand, which was the lowest number of marriages recorded since 2004.
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 seven years for men and women between 2004 and 2018.
On May 17, 2013 France became the 9th European country to allow gay marriage. Only a few days after the legalization, the first same-sex marriage was celebrated in the southern city of Montpellier. In 2019, the number of same-sex marriages in France reached 6,000 marriages, with the highest number recorded in 2015 with 10,522 nuptials. 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 2017, there were about 62 thousand recorded divorces, which largely concerned marriages lasting four 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.