In 2018, only 28% of newborns were born to married women. Most were born to single women or those in free unions. The National Institute of Statistics and Census registered 47,417 births to unmarried women that year. This includes 24,140 births to single women and 23,277 births to women in free unions.
These numbers are drastically different from those in 2008. In 2008, single women had 16,331 babies, just a little over half of those last year, and those in free unions had 30,986, many more than last year. Children born to married women in 2008 represented 35% of all births and totalled 26,590. Experts pointed out that in 2008 there were many new forms of family being accepted and many more women interested in study and work.
The number of births in 2017 was below 70,000, which had not happened in Costa Rica since 1980. In 2018, the number dropped again.
Last year, births to adolescent mothers under 19 years old totaled 9,531, 14% of all births. This is the same percentage as in 2017. From 2017 to 2018, there was a slight decrease in births to mothers ages 15 or younger, from 300 to 258.