Children and divorce in Flanders (Belgium): differentials according to the country of origin

Edith Lodewijckx, Research Centre of the Flemish Government

Marriages split up more frequently and rapidly. Often divorces involve children. Divorce rates are high for native couples but also among people originating from the Netherlands, France, Italy, Turkey and Morocco. Care policy for divorcees and their children is developed gradually in Flanders. In order to be effective, implementation of policy requires quantitative data on the number and status of targeted children. According to register data, 11% of all native children experienced a divorce of their parents: 2% among 0- to 4-year olds and 18% at age 15-17. These proportions are somewhat higher for children of French origin (13% of all children) and much lower for Turkish (5%) and Moroccan children (4%). Being confronted with divorce of their parents does not imply that a child will spend its further childhood in a one-parent family. To explore recent post-divorce living arrangements according to the country of origin, household types in 2004 are examined for children whose parents divorced in the period 1998-2003. The risk of living in a one-parent family is higher for Moroccan, Turkish and Italian children than for natives (after controlling for the age of the child at the time of the divorce, the time elapsed since the divorce and the sex of the cohabiting parent). If Turkish and Moroccan children live in a couple family, it is more likely that their mother/father will be remarried.

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Presented in Poster Session 1