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Ireland and Latvia have the highest percentage of children living with a lone parent in the EU, new figures published today show.
The figures, produced by Eurostat, the EU's official statistics bureau, showed that, in 2008, 23 percent of children in both Ireland and Latvia were raised by single parents. The average figure for the EU as a whole was 14 percent.
Estonia and the United Kingdom had the next highest number at 21 percent each.
The figures show that, in 2008, 74pc of children in the EU lived with two married parents, while 14pc lived in a single-parent household and 12pc in a household with cohabitating parents.
In Ireland, 67.8 percent of children living with their two married parents, substantially lower than the EU. In addition to the 23 percent of Irish children who live with a lone parent, another 7.4 percent live with cohabiting parents.
The countries with the lowest number of children living with two married parents were Estonia and Sweden (both 54pc),
Greece (92pc) and Cyprus (89pc) had the highest percentages of children living with both married parents. Only 4.3 percent of Greek children live with a lone parent.
In Italy, 82.1 percent of children live with their two married parents, 6.3 percent live with cohabiting parents, and 10.8 percent with one parent.
In Spain, 83.9 percent of children live with both married parents, 7.8 percent with cohabiting parents and 7.1 percent with a lone parent.
Households consisting of cohabitating parents with children were most common in Sweden (27pc), Estonia (23pc), France (21pc) and Slovenia (20pc).
The figures also show the number of men and women aged 65 and over living on their own. The EU average for women is 41.2 percent. In Ireland it is 38.8 percent.
But in Denmark it is 57 percent, in Finland 52pc and Sweden 51pc.
One in five men over 65 in the EU live alone. The Irish figure is 23.4 percent. Only in Denmark (31pc), the United Kingdom (27pc) and Sweden (26pc) did more than one quarter of men live alone.
Meanwhile, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of births outside wedlock has remained above 30pc since 2001.
The figures, released today, show that, in 2009, there were 24,532 births outside marriage, which represented 33pc of all births. This compares to 18,114 births outside marriage in 2001, which represented 31.3pc of all births in that year.
The figures also show that the age at which women get married continues to rise. In 1994, the average age at which women married was 27.1. By 2006, it had risen to 31.2.
The report also shows that the number of women looking after children at home has declined substantially in the last decade.
In 2001, there were 569,000 women working in the home, which represented 38.5pc, or nearly four out of every ten women. By 2009, this number had declined to 531,000, which represented 29.7pc, just under three out of every ten women. This is a decline of almost 10pc.