Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Teen Behavior Risk Factor 2. Percentage of All Births That are to Unmarried Teens

10/01/1998

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

Figure TEEN 2. Percentage of all Births That Are to Unmarried Teens Ages 15-19, 1940 to 1997

Figure TEEN 2. Percentage of all Births That Are to Unmarried Teens Ages 15-19, 1940 to 1997

Source: Table TEEN 2.


  • In contrast to Figure TEEN 1, which showed births to unmarried teens as a percentage of all teen births, Figure TEEN 2 shows births to unmarried teens as a percentage of births to all women, teens or adults, married or unmarried. Births to unmarried teens as a percentage of all births have risen, from 2 percent in 1940 to 10 percent in 1997. This percentage is affected by several 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 percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens leveled off over the last four years for births to both white and black women.
  • Between 1970 and 1994, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens had been increasing steadily among white women.
  • Among births to black women, the percentage 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 percentage for black women in the early 1970s reflects a rise in non-marital teen births concurrent with a decline in total black births.

Table TEEN 2. Percentage of All Births That Are to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, 1940 to 1997

Year All Races White Black

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 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 non-reporting states for which marital status was inferred from other information on the birth certificate; see sources below. Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother. Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child; see sources below. Data for 1997 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; 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; Ventura, S.J., Anderson, R.N., Martin, J.A., Smith, B.L., "Births and Deaths: Preliminary Data for 1997," National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 47, No. 4, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD, 1998.

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 0.9 NA
1960 2 0.9 NA
1961 2.2 1 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 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 23.4
1978 7.2 4 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
1988 8 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 20.9
1997 9.8 7.9 20.7

 

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