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After decades of rapid growth, the rate of children being born outside of wedlock is now in decline in the United States.
In 2016, the share of babies born to unmarried mothers in the U.S. dropped below 40 percent, the first time it has been that low since 2007, noted Lyman Stone, research fellow at the Virginia-based Institute for Family Studies in a blog post last Thursday.
Change - Changes - Status - Childbearing - Fertility
This substantive social change is happening concurrently with changes in marital status and in childbearing, and a decreasing fertility rate for the entire nation, she added. While a growing percentage of children today are born into two-parent households, the number of children overall is dropping.
"Since the recession [of 2007–2008], unmarried births have fallen, while births within wedlock have risen slightly. If the share of children born to unmarried moms were falling simply because of more married births — but unmarried births were still rising — then it wouldn't be quite correct to say that unmarried childbearing is on the outs. But with absolute numbers falling, it seems clear that we are genuinely enjoying a period where unmarried parenting is in decline," he went on to explain, noting the trend is holding across all ethnic and racial groups.
Percent - Children - Wedlock - US - Figure
Approximately 5 percent of children were born outside of wedlock in 1960 in the U.S.; that figure grew to 41 percent in the late 2000s.
The latest data also reveals that since 2009, African-American women have seen the largest declines in unmarried child-bearing, and those numbers have not risen since the mid-1990s.
Lens - Socioeconomics - Education - Level - Numbers
Yet when examined through the lens of socioeconomics and education level, the numbers of unmarried births actually increase within three groups measured: those...
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