Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Teen Behavior Risk Factor 1. Percent of Births to Unmarried Women Within Age Groups

10/01/1997

This risk factor shows the percent of all births, within each age group, that are to unmarried women.

Figure Teen 1. Percent of Births that are to Unmaried Women Within Age Groups

Figure Teen 1. Percent of Births that are to Unmaried Women Within Age Groups

  • The percent of children born outside of marriage is affected by several factors: the rate at which women marry, the rate at which unmarried women have children, and the rate at which married women have children.
  • While the percent of births within each age group that are to unmarried women has been increasing for many years, it has recently leveled off. Although the percent of births within each group that are to unmarried women decreased in 1995 and then increased in 1996, these changes were small. This is true for both adult and teen women, as well as for black and white women. See Appendix D for data on the percent of births within each age group that are to unmarried women by race.
  • As Table TEEN 1 shows, the percent of children born outside of marriage remains relatively high. Among teens, over three-quarters of children were born outside of marriage in 1996, compared to just over one-tenth in 1940. Among all women, nearly one-third of children were born outside of marriage, compared to 4 percent in 1940.

Table TEEN 1. Percent of Births that are to Unmarried Women Within Age Groups

Year Under 15 15-17 Yrs 18-19 Yrs All Teens All Women
1940 64.5 NA NA 14.0 3.8
1941 64.1 NA NA 14.2 3.8
1942 64.5 NA NA 13.2 3.4
1943 64.2 NA NA 13.4 3.3
1944 64.5 NA NA 15.7 3.8
1945 70.0 NA NA 18.2 4.3
1946 66.4 NA NA 15.7 3.8
1947 65.1 NA NA 13.0 3.6
1948 61.4 20.8 8.5 12.7 3.7
1949 61.8 21.1 8.6 12.9 3.7
1950 63.7 22.6 9.4 13.9 4.0
1951 62.9 21.8 9.1 13.5 3.9
1952 63.6 22.8 9.2 14.0 3.9
1953 64.0 22.3 9.6 14.1 4.1
1954 64.4 23.2 10.1 14.7 4.4
1955 66.3 23.2 10.3 14.9 4.5
1956 66.1 23.0 10.0 14.6 4.6
1957 66.1 23.1 9.8 14.5 4.7
1958 66.2 23.3 10.3 14.9 5.0
1959 67.9 24.2 10.6 15.4 5.2
1960 67.8 24.0 10.7 15.4 5.3
1961 69.7 25.3 11.3 16.2 5.6
1962 69.5 26.7 11.3 16.4 5.9
1963 71.1 28.2 12.5 18.0 6.3
1964 74.2 29.9 13.5 19.7 6.8
1965 78.5 32.8 15.3 21.6 7.7
1966 76.3 35.3 16.1 22.6 8.4
1967 80.3 37.7 18.0 25.0 9.0
1968 81.0 40.4 20.1 27.6 9.7
1969 79.3 41.3 21.1 28.7 10.0
1970 80.8 43.0 22.4 30.5 10.7
1971 82.1 44.5 23.2 31.8 11.3
1972 81.9 45.9 24.7 33.8 12.4
1973 84.8 46.7 25.6 35.0 13.0
1974 84.6 48.3 27.0 36.4 13.2
1975 87.0 51.4 29.8 39.3 14.2
1976 86.4 54.0 31.6 41.2 14.8
1977 88.2 56.6 34.4 43.8 15.5
1978 87.3 57.5 36.2 44.9 16.3
1979 88.8 60.0 38.1 46.9 17.1
1980 88.7 61.5 39.8 48.3 18.4
1981 89.2 63.3 41.4 49.9 18.9
1982 89.2 65.0 43.0 51.4 19.4
1983 90.4 67.5 45.7 54.1 20.3
1984 91.1 69.2 48.1 56.3 21.0
1985 91.8 70.9 50.7 58.7 22.0
1986 92.5 73.3 53.6 61.5 23.4
1987 92.9 75.8 56.0 64.0 24.5
1988 93.6 77.1 58.5 65.9 25.7
1989 92.4 77.7 60.4 67.2 27.1
1990 91.6 77.7 61.3 67.6 28.0
1991 91.3 78.7 63.2 69.3 29.5
1992 91.3 79.2 64.6 70.5 30.1
1993 91.3 79.9 66.1 71.8 31.0
1994 94.5 84.1 70.0 75.9 32.6
1995 93.5 83.7 69.8 75.6 32.2
1996 94.0 84.5 70.9 76.4 32.4

Notes: Births to unmarried women in the United States for 1940 - 1979 are estimated from data for registration areas in which marital status of the mother was reported; see sources below. Beginning in 1980, births to unmarried women in the United States are based on data from states reporting marital status directly and data from nonreporting states for which marital status was inferred from other information on the birth certificate; see sources below. Data for 1996 are preliminary.

Sources: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, "Births to Unmarried Mothers: United States, 1980 - 1992," Vital and Health Statistics, Series 21, No. 53, 1995 and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, "Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1995," Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 45, No. 11, Supplement, 1997.