Are more children in France being given both parents’ last names?

A bill currently being debated in the French parliament aims to make it easier for people to change their last name, thus enabling adult children to use their mother’s, father’s, or both. But what is the situation today?

11.8% of children born in 2019 bear the last names of both their parents. 

In 2005 it became possible in France to give children the last name of either one or both parents. A large majority of children still bear only their father’s (81.5%). But the proportion of children bearing both last names is increasing (with father’s name usually preceding mother’s) and has now reached one in ten. All newborns may be given both names, whether their parents are married or not, but unmarried parents choose the two-name solution three times more often than married ones. 

The practice varies by mother’s age at birth. The share of children bearing their father’s last name only is highest (over 80%) among women giving birth between the ages of 25 and 37, the maximum fertility years. In France at present, father’s last name only is the default setting but this could be changed to both parents’ last names in the future. 

On ligne:January 2022