Illegitimate Children and Single Moms

Currently, there is an increasingly large number of children born out of wedlock as well as single parents raising children throughout most of the world. It is much more common in this day in age to see children who were raised by a single parent. This could in part be due to the increasing number of divorces, but also, there is more of a cultural norm and a greater acceptance of this trend. It is also much more common to see smaller families. The table below shows a few worldwide statistics concerning some of these trends mentioned earlier. It does a good job of illustrating these trends by countries. For instance, births outside of marriages and single parents raising children are very low of the Middle East but much more common in the US.


Trends within the Middle East are somewhat uniform, but do vary from country to country. Due to unemployment, there has been a rise in single households because of one parent going overseas for work. Also, the Middle East tends to be a but more conservative on their views of these issues.

Religion does play somewhat of a role in these trends. In Islam, children are not looked down upon if born out of wedlock. Scriptures say that they do not share in the sin of their parents and that they should be treated equally. However, this is not condoned and the parents are looked down upon for this.

Similar to Islam, Judaism says that children born out of wedlock bear no stigma unless they were born out of an illegal affair, such as incest or adultery. Once again, these actions are not condoned, but Judaism does not give much guidance on these topics. These ideas mirror what is going on in Israel.

In Israel today, there is a greater acceptance of single moms. For example, in 2006, more than 600 women came together to form a single mothers movement and protest that raised awareness of the importance of acceptance. Also, in the past decade, there has been an increasing number of single parents and a decreasing number of family members per household. During this time period, the number of children born out of wedlock and raised by single parents almost doubled.

In Lebanon, the issue becomes more complex due to some of the rules laid down by the government. Women are greatly looked down upon for having a child out of wedlock. For mothers who accidentally get pregnant, the decision about what to do is even harder because abortion is illegal. If the mother chooses to keep the child and she is not married, she is not able to register her child. Also, in order for the child to become a citizen, the father has to be Lebanese and admit and accept the child. These things could be part of the reason why single moms are more rare and why children raised by single parents is not as common as in many other places in the world.

Saudi Arabia appears to lie on an extreme end of the spectrum. Children born to unmarried parents are seen as the “seed of the devil” and looked down upon by a majority of the population. The views on these issues are institutionalized by the government. Parents of children born out of wedlock, single parents, and they’r children are all stigmatized and looked down upon. It is a very rough life for these people living in Saudi Arabia.

The other end of the spectrum seems to be where the United States falls. The US has the third highest proportion of children with single parents. These trends could partly be attributed to the high divorce rate and low cohabitation rate exhibited in the country. Teen pregnancy is also a lot more common, which would also contribute to these trends. Single parents are not looked down upon and it is pretty common to see children born outside of marriage. This is true not only for young parents, but also for older couples, who possibly might not be getting married due to money problems or just because it is no longer a necessity to be married when you have children.

It is clear by these examples that due to how society views these trends, they are much more common in certain areas than others. Despite the global increase in these trends, some areas such as the Middle East still exhibit low frequencies of children born out of wedlock and single parents.



7 thoughts on “Illegitimate Children and Single Moms

  1. Children out of wedlock have become a cultural norm for many people in the United States, for reasons that Alex addressed in her blog. It’s interesting that Lebanon and the US have such different laws regarding citizenship of children born in the country. Alex wrote that Lebanese women must be married to a Lebanese man in order for her children to be citizens, but in the US any child born here gains citizenship. Reading this blog also brought to mind a similar topic, adoption. In the United States many couples who are unable to have children and Gay and Lesbian couples adopt children in order to have their own family. Is adoption or foster care common in Lebanon? And if so, are the children being adopted legally citizens of Lebanon?

    1. Adoption is not common at all in Lebanon. In fact, there are no adoption agencies. A family can decide to care for an orphan, but he is not adopted.
      I want to share with you a personal first-hand experience with the issue being tackled in this blog post. I used to volunteer at the Dar al Aytam al-Islammiya Orphanage (a Muslim orphanage) and one day I noticed there was a new face in a crib. He was a 6-day old newborn. He was found near a garbage container in Beirut. A lady passed by and found him, and took him to the orphanage. I was shocked at the story, and the caretaker told me it is a common thing for them to find kids abandoned. The reasons are many, but one of the primary one is that children out of wedlock are seen as a shame upon the family.

  2. Single parent families are the number one cause of poverty in the world. Most need lots of goverment help/aid(money), thus the tax payer becomes a “”Slave”” to their dysfunctional life style.
    In one US culture, 67% of all the males go to prison at least once in their lives. Stat’s show that a family made up of one woman and ones man, with the daughters 65% less get pregnet as teenagers.

  3. 50 million americans on food stamps most headed by single moms….52 million abortions since roe v wade….1 in 3 americans have a std today….maybe scriptures in this regard were correct

  4. Saudi married women are very naughty. They open their legs and make love with their many boyfriends when their husbands are not around.

  5. There is a hero who was an illegitimate child: Jesse McCord Lewis. Lewis gave his life saving 11 lives. Not bad for an illegitimate child!

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