Out-of-wedlock births hit record high

OUT-OF-WEDLOCK births are rising in the Philippines, only Christian nation in Asia, official figures suggest.

These births outside marriage have long been associated with children born out of illicit relations whom we call “putok sa buho” in Filipino or bastardos in Spanish. With stigma of illegitimacy, they were discriminated by society.

Their mothers were called single parents or unwed mothers. If there are unwed mothers there were also unwed fathers.

Another type of out-of-wedlock births is fast rising in the Philippines and other parts of the world.

These are births of children born out of couples putting off or living together without getting married.

More than 37 percent of the 1.8 million babies born in the Philippines in 2008 had unmarried mothers, according to the population census conducted by National Statistics Office (NSO).

It said a growing number of Filipinos now treating as an option, rather than a requirement, for starting families.

This was 12.5 percent higher than the previous year, and compared with a 2.0 percent increase for all births, the NSO said.

NSO said some couples just live-in and only get married after four or five children when they can already afford a church wedding or join a mass wedding for free.

Several thousand couples who lived together for years and unable to marry because of the expense were given free church wedding on different dates in Cebu City, Bacolod City, Olongapo City, Manila, San Pablo City, and other places in the country, mostly sponsored by politicians or civic leaders.

According to data released recently by the government 37 percent of the 1.8 million babies born in 2008 had unmarried mothers, citing the results of the latest population census.

It is interesting to note that out-of-wed-lock births are also rising in much of the industrialized world.

In Iceland, 66 percent of children are born to unmarried mothers, while nearly four in 10 American  babies born out of wedlock, it was repor-ted by New York Times recently.

Most children of British mothers are now being born out of wedlock, according to official figures.

It reflects the fact that having  a child out of wedlock is more acceptable nowadays and not necessary the source of shame.

Data released recently by US National Center for Health Statistics.

The 1.7 million out of wedlock births of 4.3 million total births, marked a more than 25 percent jump from five years before unwed parents often worry about the disadvantages they face, including the increase high school they face livelihood of poverty and greater high school dropout rates.

It reflects the fact that having a child out of wedlock is more acceptable nowadays and not necessarily the source of shame as it was.

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