Most Women Who Give Birth Before 25 Are Unmarried

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Young women in the United States are increasingly having children out of wedlock.


The U.S. Census Bureau reported that as of 2011, 62% of women age 20-24 who gave birth in the previous 12 months were unmarried. This rate was considerably higher than that for women 35-39, who came in at 17%.


Overall, of the 4.1 million women who gave birth, 36% were unmarried. In 2005, the rate was 31%.


“The increased share of unmarried recent mothers is one measure of the nation’s changing family structure,” Rose Kreider, a family demographer with the Census Bureau and one of the report’s authors, said in a prepared statement. “Nonmarital fertility has been climbing steadily since the 1940s and has risen even more markedly in recent years.”


The new statistics also showed that women with less education and income are more likely to have children than those better educated and well off financially.


More than half (57%) of women with less than a high school diploma in 2011 who had had a child in the past year were unmarried. In contrast, only 9% of recent mothers with a bachelor’s degree or higher were unmarried.


In addition, the share of unmarried women who gave birth ranged from 69% in household with incomes of less than $10,000 per year to 9% in households with annual income of $200,000 or more.


According to a Pew Research Center study released in 2011, barely more than half of all adults (51%) are married, in contrast to the high point of 72% in 1960. Marriage has really fallen out of favor with young people. Only 20% of those under 30 are married—compared to 59% in 1960.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

About 6 in 10 Recent Moms in Their Early 20s are Unmarried, Census Bureau Reports (U.S. Census Bureau)

Social and Economic Characteristics of Currently Unmarried Women With a Recent Birth: 2011 (by Rachel W. Shattuck and Rose M. Krieder, U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)

Almost 4 of 10 Births in U.S. are to Unmarried Mothers (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Marriage Rate Drops to Record Low (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

For First Time, More 25-34-Year-Olds are Unmarried than Married (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment