One in ten babies in West Sussex born to single parents

One in ten West Sussex babies are born to single parents, new data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

Single parent charity Gingerbread said lone parents still face some stigma, but recent reports debunk the idea that having only one parent can negatively impact children.

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Office for National Statistics figures show 656 babies were registered by just one parent.

Across England, 52 per cent of babies were registered by parents who were married or in a same-sex civil partnerships

A further 288 had two parents living at different homes.

That is a total of 944 children being raised by single parents in 2017 – 11 per cent of the births in West Sussex.

Across England, 52 per cent of babies were registered by parents who were married or in a same-sex civil partnerships, in line with the average for the UK.

In West Sussex, it was 55 per cent.

Rosie Ferguson, chief executive of Gingerbread, said single parents’ aspirations for their children may be thwarted by circumstances out of their control.

She said: “The majority of single parents work, but many are still locked out of the secure, flexible employment opportunities they need in order to provide for their children.

“Low-paid and insecure jobs, as well as the lack of affordable childcare, mean that some single parents struggle to put food on the table for their children.

“The Government must work with Jobcentres, employers and childcare providers to ensure that work genuinely provides a route out of poverty.

“We need to strengthen the system of support for single parents to provide a decent standard of living for them and their children.”

There were 2,949 babies born to couples who were living together but not married – 34 per cent of the total.

When counted alongside those who are married or in a civil partnership, 89 per cent of babies in West Sussex were born to a family with two parents at home.

In 2017, there were 8,630 births, 4,462 boys and 4,168 girls.

In 251 cases, mothers in West Sussex went into labour at home.

• Report by Miguel Rodriguez, data reporter