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How Common Is Unmarried Parenthood?

Unmarried parenthood in the US reached an all-time high in 2013, with an estimated two out of every five births being to unwed mothers. The lower the household income, the more common out-of-wedlock births tend to be for first-time mothers. Almost 60% of first births in lower-middle-class US households are to unmarried mothers. For mothers who have less than a high-school education, more than 80% of their first births are out-of-wedlock. The rate of out-of-wedlock first births for college graduates, on the other hand, is only 12%. Teen pregnancies, which once led to the majority of unmarried parenthood in the US, accounted for just one-fifth of all nonmarital births in early 2013. The increase in unmarried parenthood is thought to be the result of people delaying marriage but not delaying having kids, because more women are working and are financially independent. The average marriage age in the US in 2010 was about 28 for men and 26 for women, up from 26.8 and 25.1, respectively, in 2000.

More about parenthood and marriage:

  • The typical unmarried mother in the US is in her 20s, has a high school education and often is in a committed relationship with her child’s father.

  • The rate of US teen pregnancy declined by 42% from 1990 through 2008.

  • About 40% of unmarried US parents are no longer together within the first five years of their child’s life, compared with less than 15% of married parents.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke , Former Writer
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By anon339042 — On Jun 19, 2013

What all you brains out there forget, is that these future mothers don't have to pay anything for having this child. I believe if the future mother doesn't say who the father is, and proves it by DNA, she should have to do community service for so many years to pay the bill. If the father is proven, he should have to pay, instead of the taxpayers footing all the bills.

I had to pay everything up front for my children, so why shouldn't they? Most of them just do it this way so the taxpayers have to pay all the medical bills involving the child, ans I am not sure when the taxpayers get off the hook -- when the child turns 18 or what?

By anon339003 — On Jun 19, 2013

I have a radio show in San Antonio, Tx. and I have been talking about marriage. My stand is this, "When you save marriage in America, we save America! Think about it: God made them male and female and told us to populate the earth.

Think about it. The family is the fiber of our country and any country, so, when we save marriage in America, we save the next generation. For example, let us say that someone comes from a divorced family, and then they get married, but after a few years they don't want to be married any longer. What do they say? "My parents got divorced, so, it must be O.K., and I am going to get divorced". And the curse goes on.

As stated in the article, some 60 percent of children being born in America are from unmarried girls. This is not good, not right, and we have a country that is full of one parent homes. A child needs a mother and a father. --Louis V.

Allison Boelcke

Allison Boelcke

Former Writer

Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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