Friday, 14 December 2007

Most British babies born outside of marriage

According to a report in Wednesday's Daily Telegraph, in the 1950s just 5% of British children were born outside marriage. By 1970 that was around 10%, and, according to the Office for National Statistics figures, in 2006 is was 49.4%. Based on projections by The Spectator, 50.4% of British children will be born outside of marriage in 2007.

Civil registration statistics suggest the sagging popularity of marriage is partly the reason. Although outside marriage often the father acknowledges paternity.

In 2005 about one third of children had their birth registered with the mother's surname. That percentage had not changed much in 10 years, but rose from near 20% in 1985.

Leaving aside the very debatable social implications, genealogists face no longer being able to track the father through civil registration records in many cases. Is this another instance where technology, by way of DNA analysis, is coming along at the right time?

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