Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 2. Births to Unmarried Teens

03/01/2001

Figure BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race: 1940-1999

Figure BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race: 1940-1999

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940 - 1999,” National Vital Health Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 1998,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48(3), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 49(1), 2001.


  • 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.  This percentage has risen over time, from just under 2 percent in 1940 to just under 10 percent in 1999.  It may be 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.

  • Between 1960 and 1999, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens trended upward among white women, from less than 1 percent in 1960 to 8 percent in 1999.

  • Among black women, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens varied greatly during the same period, rising sharply to a peak of 24 percent in 1975, and showing a gradual decline in most years since then.  The rate fell to 20 percent in 1999, the lowest percentage since 1970.  The sharp increase in the late 1960s and early 1970s reflects a rise in non-marital teen births concurrent with a decline in total black births.

Table BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race:  1940-1999

  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 20.6
1990 8.4 6.1 20.4
1991 8.7 6.4 20.4
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 9.7 7.8 20.5
1998 9.7 7.9 19.9
1999 9.7 8.0 19.8

Note: Trends in non-marital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring non-marital births when marital statue is not reported. Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother. Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child. White and black include those of Hispanic origin for all years.  Rates for 1981-1989 have been revised and differ, therefore, from rates published in Vital Statistics in the United States, Vol. 1, Natality, for 1991 and earlier years.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940 - 1999,” National Vital Health Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; National Center for Health Statistics, “Births: Final Data for 1998,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48(3), 2000; National Center for Health Statistics, “Births: Preliminary Data for 1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48(14), 2000.

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