America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2005

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2005
is a biennial report to the Nation on the condition of children in America
 

Figure POP7.B: Percentage of all births that are to unmarried women by age of mother, 1980 and 2003

Figure POP7.B: Percentage of all births that are to unmarried women by age of mother, 1980 and 2003

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System.

  • In 2003, 35 percent of all births were to unmarried women.
  • The percentage of all births to unmarried women rose sharply from 18 percent in 1980 to 33 percent in 1994.13 From 1994 to 2003, it increased slowly to 35 percent.
  • Between 1980 and 2003, the proportion of births to unmarried women rose sharply for women in all age groups. Among teenagers, the proportion was high throughout the period and continued to rise, from 62 to 90 percent for ages 1517 and from 40 to 77 percent for ages 1819. The proportion more than doubled for births to women in their twenties, rising from 19 to 53 percent for ages 2024 and from 9 to 26 percent for ages 2529. The proportion of births to unmarried women in their thirties increased from 8 to 15 percent.
  • One-third of all births, including 4 in 10 first births, were to unmarried women in 2002. Nearly two-thirds of women under age 25 having their first child were not married.
  • The increases in the proportion of births to unmarried women, especially during the 1980s, were linked to sharp increases in the birth rates for unmarried women in all age groups during this period, concurrent with declines in birth rates for married women. In addition, the number of unmarried women increased by about one-fourth, as more and more women from the baby boom generation postponed marriage.
  • During the late 1990s, the pace of increase in the proportion slowed. The comparative stability is linked to a renewed rise in birth rates for married women.