August 8, 2000
Unwed births in U.S. increase again in 1998
A story published today by U.S. Newswire reports that the percent of
births to unmarried parents increased in 1998 to an all time high. The percent of
unwed births is also up from 1997, going from 32.4% to 32.8%. The percent of births
to teenagers, however, decreased.
"Births: Final Data for 1998," prepared by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, shows that the
number of births to unmarried women of childbearing age (15-44) rose to 1,293,567 in 1998.
The percent of all births to unmarried women also increased from 32.4 percent in 1997 to
32.8 percent in 1998, while the birth rate for unmarried women increased slightly to 44.3
births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44 in 1998. However, the teen out-of-wedlock
birth rate dropped again in 1998,
to 41.5 births per 1,000 unmarried teens aged 15-19, down 11 percent from its high in
Monday, August 7, 2000
Museum caters to single-parent families
A story published today in the Miami Herald reports that a local
museum has launched a new program geared toward single parents and their children.
The story says that Melinda Taubman doesn't know of too many singles
bars that admit 8-year-old children. As a single mom, going out sometimes means leaving
her daughter, Shelby Young, at home.
"These days there just aren't events where we can both go
somewhere and both have a good time,'' Taubman, of Boca Raton, said.
But Sunday, the Museum of Discovery & Science in Fort Lauderdale
provided a unique twist to their family days. This time, the museum offered a special rate
to single parents and their children.
"Here, I can meet new people while my daughter can enjoy the
exhibits,'' Taubman said.
Single parents got into the museum for free after they purchased a
ticket for their child. Featured exhibits were face-painting by Strawberry the Clown and
free Carvel ice cream sandwiches.
"This is the first time we have done this and it opens us up to
a new market of people that possibly haven't been here before,'' said Walter Howard, who
was elected president and CEO of the science museum in June.
Kathleen Cannon of Pompano Beach was just glad to find an event for
"There's always events for the kids or for families,'' she said. "But now I can
have a conversation with other single parents while my son is playing. It's so nice.''
The story says that parents were also offered a free Kid I.D. Kit,
which includes a picture, a piece of hair and a fingerprint from their child, which can be
used to help find the child if he or she disappears.
The first 100 kids through the door received a free SeaEscape Kids'
Cruise, and a magician, stilt walker and juggler entertained the large crowd.
New study says unmarried
cohabitation may cause communications problems
A story published today in the Evansville Courier and Press reports
that a new study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University has found that couples
who lived together for as little as one month before marrying actually displayed poorer
communication and problem-solving skills than those who did not.
The research directed by Catherine Cohan, an assistant professor of
human development, is the latest in a spate of studies that disproves the popular notion
that living together is useful preparation for married life.
In the past decade several studies have found that couples who live
together first as have almost half of American adults are more likely to
separate or divorce than those who wait until they are married to cohabit.
To assess the relationship between cohabitation and communication,
Cohan, who recently presented her study at an international conference in Australia,
studied the problem-solving skills of 92 newly married Pennsylvania couples under age 35.
About 40 percent never lived with their spouse or any other partner,
an equal number had lived only with their spouse and 20 percent had lived with their
spouse and at least one other partner.
Researchers visited the couples at home, interviewed partners
separately and then videotaped two 15-minute sessions in which the partners, without the
interviewer present, sought to solve a problem that had been selected by each from a list
that included sex, money, children, housework, career and religion.
An analysis of the videotapes found that couples who had lived
together first displayed more negative behavior than those who had not. Cohabiting
husbands, for example, were more likely to attempt to control their wives, while the wives
were more verbally aggressive.
Cohan said the reasons are murky but may reside in differing levels
of commitment that ultimately erode the quality of the union. In other words, cohabitation
allows some people to remain relatively uncommitted and enables them to size up other
people as potential mates.
Cohan suggests that to assess the relationship between cohabitation
and commitment, researchers should study infidelity among those who lived together and
those who did not.