Motherhood in Norway takes place within a fairly universal welfare state providing high-quality health care and a wide range of benefits and support; the state also promotes shared parenting. The fertility rate is 1.9.

Fifty percent of children are born outside of wedlock, mostly to cohabiting, heterosexual couples. The decoupling of marriage and childbirth partly explains the high birth rate. In 2007, the divorce rate was 11.8 per 1,000 marriages; based on current trends, every second marriage is expected to end in divorce.

Cohabiting couples in Norway are found to be at greater risk of splitting up than married ones. Of divorced couples, 66 percent have children, and a quarter of children below 18 years of age have a nonresident parent. Abortion is freely available until the ...

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