Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nappies First and Cake Later

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nappies First and Cake Later

Article excerpt

Byline: By Graeme Whitfield

For the first time, more children in the North-East are being born out of wedlock than to married couples.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that 50.9pc of births in the region from 1999 to 2002 were to unmarried couples, though most are to co-habiting couples rather than single mothers.

The North-East is the only area in the country where babies born to unmarried couples are in the majority, with the region well above the national average of 40.1pc.

The figures are revealed in the annual Regional Trends report, which will be published later this month.

But the report also reveals a snapshot of the North-East as an ageing, unhealthy population with some of the lowest incomes and house prices in the country. David Marder, of the ONS, said: "The North-East is the only region in England where the proportion of babies born outside marriage is more than one in two.

"Society has moved on and births outside marriage are now much more common than ever before. …

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