Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2000. Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 2. Births to Unmarried Teens

03/01/2000

Figure BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 – 19, by Race: 1940-98

Figure BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 – 19, by Race: 1940-98

Sources: Ventura, S.J., National Center for Health Statistics, “Births to Unmarried Mothers: United States, 1980–1992,” Vital and Health Statistics, Series 21, No. 53, 1995; Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Curtin, S.C., Mathews, T.J., National Center for Health Statistics, “Births: Final Data for 1997,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 47(18), 1999; Martin, J.A., Smith, B.L, Mathews, T.J., Ventura, S.J., National Center for Health Statistics, “Births and Deaths: Preliminary Data for 1998,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 47(25), 1999.


  • In contrast to Figure BIRTH 1, which showed births to unmarried teens as a percentage of all teen births, Figure BIRTH 2 shows births to unmarried teens as a percentage of births to all women. Births to unmarried teens as a percentage of all births have risen over time, from 2 percent in 1940 to 10 percent in 1998. 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.
  • Since 1960, the trend in the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens has been upward among white women.
  • Among 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. The percentage of all births that were to unmarried black teens has leveled off over the last five years.

Table BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 – 19, by Race: 1940-98

  All Races White Black
1940 1.7 0.8 N/A
1941 1.7 0.7 N/A
1942 1.5 0.7 N/A
1943 1.5 0.6 N/A
1944 1.6 0.8 N/A
1945 1.8 0.8 N/A
1946 1.5 0.7 N/A
1947 1.4 0.7 N/A
1948 1.5 0.7 N/A
1949 1.5 0.6 N/A
1950 1.6 0.6 N/A
1951 1.5 0.6 N/A
1952 1.5 0.6 N/A
1953 1.6 0.6 N/A
1954 1.7 0.7 N/A
1955 1.7 0.7 N/A
1956 1.7 0.7 N/A
1957 1.8 0.7 N/A
1958 1.9 0.8 N/A
1959 2.0 0.9 N/A
1960 2.0 0.9 N/A
1961 2.2 1.0 N/A
1962 2.3 1.1 N/A
1963 2.5 1.2 N/A
1964 2.8 1.3 N/A
1965 3.3 1.6 N/A
1966 3.8 1.9 N/A
1967 4.1 2.1 N/A
1968 4.5 2.3 N/A
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 20.9
1997 9.9 8.0 21.3
1998 9.9 8.0 20.6

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 non-reporting states for which marital status was inferred from other information on the birth certificate; see sources below. Data for 1998 are preliminary.

Sources: Ventura, S.J., National Center for Health Statistics, “Births to Unmarried Mothers: United States, 1980–1992,” Vital and Health Statistics, Series 21, No. 53, 1995; Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Curtin, S.C., Mathews, T.J., National Center for Health Statistics, “Births: Final Data for 1997,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 47(18), 1999; Martin, J.A., Smith, B.L, Mathews, T.J., Ventura, S.J., National Center for Health Statistics, “Births and Deaths: Preliminary Data for 1998,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 47(25), 1999.

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