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
Figure POP7.B: Percentage of all
births that are to unmarried women by age of mother, 1980 and
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
- 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
15–17 and from 40 to 77 percent for ages 18–19. The
proportion more than doubled for births to women in their
twenties, rising from 19 to 53 percent for ages 20–24 and
from 9 to 26 percent for ages 25–29. 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.