Babies born out of wedlock outnumbered children born to French married couples for the first time in 2006, the government's statistical office INSEE reported Tuesday.
Out of 830,300 births in France that year, 50.5 per cent were to unmarried couples. In 2005, the figure stood at 48.4 per cent, and below 40 per cent 10 years ago, INSEE said.
The main reason was the increased use of civil agreements (PACs) between couples that are steadily replacing marriage in the country.
In 2007, there were an estimated 816,500 births in France, a slight decrease over the preceding year but, at nearly two births for every woman, one of the highest in Europe, second only to Iceland.
As of January 1, 2008, the population of France was estimated at 63.8 million, up 0.6 per cent over the previous year, INSEE said. ( Dpa )