MORE than one in five Scottish babies is now born to a foreign mother, according to a new government report.
The Growing Up In Scotland (GUS) study revealed that 22% of babies born in 2010/11 had a foreign “main carer”.
Based on the 59,000 live births in Scotland in 2010, that suggests around 13,000 Scottish babies have a foreign mother.
And the number of Scottish children born to foreign mothers has soared in recent years.
The same study reveals that in 2004/05 the figure for foreign mothers was 17%.
According to the report, which was published on Tuesday this week, children from homes where the “main carer” is foreign-born are “twice as likely” to have parents with “no educational qualifications”.
Parents in 5% of homes with a British-born main carer have no educational qualifications compared with 11% for homes with a foreign main carer.
The study – which aims to paint a picture of modern parenting – said an “influx” of parents from Asia and Africa was the reason behind the increase.
Despite that, around 91% of households still have English as the main language.
Polish is the second most popular second language in Scottish homes at 3% .
“South-Asian languages of Urdu and Punjabi were spoken in 1% of all households,” added the report.
But 2% of homes spoke no English at all.
The study – commissioned by the Scottish Government – examined the backgrounds of 6,127 children aged 10 months who were born in 2010 and 2011.
The results were then compared with similar surveys conducted around six years earlier.
Researchers also found the proportion of children whose parents were married fell from 54% in 2004–05 to 50% in 2010–11.
Children cared for by parents who live together but are unmarried also increased from 26% to 29%.
The total number of living with a single parent is now sitting at 21%.
The report also found the costs of caring for children have significantly increased since the economic downturn.
Average childcare costs have increased to £88 per week – which means parents are spending an extra £624 per year looking after their children.
Meanwhile, the proportion of parents earning more than £40,624 has also dropped from 19% to 13%.
More than half of grandparents – 56% – were said to look after a child at least once a week.
The most common form of support from grandparents was buying toys or baby equipment (93%) and looking after a child during the day (84%).
Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said: “This study shows progress and provides us with the unique evidence we need to help make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.
“We recognise the challenges faced by families across Scotland. We are doing all we can to make sure our children get the best possible start in life and we are clear that much more could be achieved with full fiscal powers.
“We have invested £18 million to support families through the Early Years Change Fund and an additional £11 million which will next year help treble the capacity of the Family Nurse Partnership to support first time mothers.
“Improvements to maternity care will be delivered through the Scottish Patient Safety Programme – beginning in March this year and aiming to reduce inequalities and deliver care that meet individual.”