Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Teen Behavior Risk Factor 2. Percent of All Births to Unmarried Teens

10/01/1997

This risk factor shows the percent of total births that are to unmarried teen mothers each year.

Figure TEEN 2. Percent of All Births that are to Unmarried Teens Age 15 to 19

Figure TEEN 2. Percent of All Births that are to Unmarried Teens Age 15 to 19

  • The percent of all births that are to unmarried teens is affected by several different factors: the age distribution of the population, the marriage rate among teens, the birth rate among unmarried teens, and the birth rate among all other women.
  • The percent of all births that were to unmarried teens leveled off over the last three years for both white and black women.
  • Between 1970 and 1994, the percent of all births that were to unmarried teens had been increasing steadily among white women.
  • Among black women, the percent of all births that were to unmarried teens varied greatly during the same period, peaking in 1975, then falling until the early 1990s. The sharp increase in the percent for black women in the early 1970s reflects a rise in nonmarital teen births concurrent with a decline in total black births.

Table TEEN 2. Percent of All Births that are to Unmarried Teens Age 15 to 19

Year All Races White Black
1940 1.7 0.8 NA
1941 1.7 0.7 NA
1942 1.5 0.7 NA
1943 1.5 0.6 NA
1944 1.6 0.8 NA
1945 1.8 0.8 NA
1946 1.5 0.7 NA
1947 1.4 0.7 NA
1948 1.5 0.7 NA
1949 1.5 0.6 NA
1950 1.6 0.6 NA
1951 1.5 0.6 NA
1952 1.5 0.6 NA
1953 1.6 0.6 NA
1954 1.7 0.7 NA
1955 1.7 0.7 NA
1956 1.7 0.7 NA
1957 1.8 0.7 NA
1958 1.9 0.8 NA
1959 2.0 0.9 NA
1960 2.0 0.9 NA
1961 2.2 1.0 NA
1962 2.3 1.1 NA
1963 2.5 1.2 NA
1964 2.8 1.3 NA
1965 3.3 1.6 NA
1966 3.8 1.9 NA
1967 4.1 2.1 NA
1968 4.5 2.3 NA
1969 4.7 2.4 17.5
1970 5.1 2.6 18.8
1971 5.5 2.6 20.3
1972 6.2 3.0 22.6
1973 6.5 3.2 23.4
1974 6.7 3.3 23.9
1975 7.1 3.7 24.2
1976 7.1 3.8 23.8
1977 7.2 4.0 23.4
1978 7.2 4.0 22.7
1979 7.2 4.1 22.5
1980 7.3 4.4 22.2
1981 7.1 4.5 21.5
1982 7.1 4.5 21.2
1983 7.2 4.6 21.2
1984 7.1 4.6 20.7
1985 7.2 4.8 20.3
1986 7.5 5.1 20.1
1987 7.7 5.3 20.0
1988 8.0 5.6 20.3
1989 8.3 5.9 18.6
1990 8.4 6.1 18.3
1991 8.7 6.4 18.1
1992 8.7 6.5 20.2
1993 8.9 6.8 20.2
1994 9.7 7.5 21.1
1995 9.6 7.6 21.1
1996 9.6 7.7 21.0

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. Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by race of the mother. Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by race of the child; 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.