Sunday, December 29, 2002
Birth rate to unmarried women steadily rising
A story released today by U.S. Newswire reports that a new HHS report released today shows the teen birth rate has declined for the 10th consecutive year in 2001.
Over the past decade, the decline was particularly significant for young teens, those 15-17 years of age, with the birth rate down by more than a third. For young black teens, the birth rate declined by nearly half.
The report also found births to unmarried women accounted for 33.5 percent of all births in 2001. This percent has been inching up over time as married women are having fewer children and the number of unmarried women grows.
The number of births to unmarried mothers jumped to a record high of more than 1.3 million in 2001, although the birth rate among unmarried women of childbearing age (15-44) actually dropped slightly between 2000 and 2001, from 45.2 per 1,000 in 2000 to 45.0 in 2001.
The rate for Hispanic women was highest in 2001, 98.0 per 1,000, followed by the rate for black women, 70.1, and the rate for non-Hispanic white women, 27.7. The birth rate for non-Hispanic white women has changed very little since 1994 (28.5). The birth rate for black women in 2001 was a record low for the Nation, 27 percent below its historic peak three decades earlier (96.1 in 1971). The rate for unmarried Asian or Pacific Islander women is the lowest, 23.2 per 1,000.
Birth rates for unmarried women are consistently highest for women aged 20–24 years (73.8 per 1,000), followed by women aged 25–29 (63.7) and 18–19 years (60.1). Rates are successively lower for women in their early thirties, young teenagers, and women in age groups 35 and older.
Birth rates for unmarried women in age groups 25–29 years and older all increased in 2001, by 2 to 4 percent for women aged 25–29 through 35–39 years. The rate for women aged 40–44 years also rose in 2001. Most of these increases were found for Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women.