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Children and their families in 2020

There were 66 000 children who witnessed a separation in 2020

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2021-06-10 9.30

In 2020, just under 66 000 children younger than 18 years saw their parents separating. This corresponds to 3.7 percent of children who were living with two parents at the beginning of the year.

In 2020, 3.7 percent of all children who were living with two parents at the beginning of the year saw their parents separate. The number of separations has remained at the same level since 2015, which is as far back in time as there are comparable statistics.

Proportion of children aged 0–17 years whose parents separated, 2015–2020


The proportion of children who witnessed a separation is lowest among newborn children aged 0 years (3.0 percent) and highest among children aged 4 years and 5 years (4.2 percent). There are no differences between girls and boys.

Proportion of children aged 0–17 years whose parents separated in 2020, by age


Children living with an original parent and a stepparent more often saw their parents separating than children living with both of their original parents, at 11.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, in 2020. The proportion of separations was also higher for children with a foreign background than for children with a Swedish background. Furthermore, the proportion of separations was higher for children in families with a lower income level.

Lowest proportion of separations in Halland

In 2020, the proportion of children who experienced a separation was lowest in Halland County at 2.9 percent. The highest proportion was in Södermanland County, followed by Gävleborg County, at 4.7 percent and 4.6 percent respectively. Ever since 2015, Halland County has been among the three counties with the lowest proportion of separations, while Södermanland and Gävleborg have been among the three counties with the highest proportion of separations during the same period.

Proportion of children aged 0–17 years whose parents separated in 2020, by county


New statistics on children and their families

The 2020 statistics for Children and their families have now been published in the Statistical Database. These statistics include information on families with children, the child’s type of family and siblings, adopted children, separations, children with Swedish and foreign background, as well as housing.

Children and their Families, statistical database

Definitions and explanations

Statistics on separations are based on population registration data on children and parents in two consecutive years. For 2020, population registration data on 31 December 2020 was studied regarding children who were registered in the population on 31 December 2019 as living with cohabiting parents (biological, adoptive or stepparents). If the parents were registered as living at different addresses at the end of 2020, the assumption was made that the child experienced a separation of their parents during the year.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Section for Coordination and Interdisciplinary Operations

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Anna Nyman

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