Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 3. Unmarried Teen Birth Rates Within Age Groups

03/01/2001

Figure BIRTH 3a. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 17, by Race: 1960-1999

Figure BIRTH 3a. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 17, by Race: 1960-1999

Figure BIRTH 3b. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 18 and 19, by Race: 1960-1999

Figure BIRTH 3b. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 18 and 19, by Race: 1960-1999

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.


  • The birth rate per 1,000 unmarried teens fell between 1994 and 1999 for both black and white teens and for both younger (15 to 17 years) and older age groups (18 and 19 years).  The rate for black teens 18 and 19, for example, fell from 142 per 1,000 to 118 per 1,000.  Declines were larger among black teens than among white teens.

  • Prior to 1994, birth rates among unmarried white teens in both age groups rose steadily for nearly three decades (4 to 24 percent among 15 to 17 year-olds and 11 to 56 percent among 18 and 19 year-olds).

  • Among unmarried black teens in both age groups, birth rates varied greatly over the period, reaching peaks in both the early 1970s and early 1990s.  Rates for both age groups were lower in 1999 than in 1969.  While birth rates among unmarried black teens remain high compared to rates for unmarried white teens, the gap been black and white teens narrowed considerably during the 1990s.

Table BIRTH 3. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teen Women Within Age Groups, by Race: 1960-1999

  Ages 15-17 Ages 18 and 19
  All Races White Black All Races White Black
1960 11.1 4.4 N/A 24.3 11.4 N/A
1961 11.7 4.6 N/A 24.6 12.1 N/A
1962 10.7 4.1 N/A 23.8 11.7 N/A
1963 10.9 4.5 N/A 25.8 13.0 N/A
1964 11.6 4.9 N/A 26.5 13.6 N/A
1965 12.5 5.0 N/A 25.8 13.9 N/A
1966 13.1 5.4 N/A 25.6 14.1 N/A
1967 13.8 5.6 N/A 27.6 15.3 N/A
1968 14.7 6.2 N/A 29.6 16.6 N/A
1969 15.2 6.6 72.0 30.8 16.6 128.4
1970 17.1 7.5 77.9 32.9 17.6 136.4
1971 17.5 7.4 80.7 31.7 15.8 135.2
1972 18.5 8.0 82.8 30.9 15.1 128.2
1973 18.7 8.4 81.2 30.4 14.9 120.5
1974 18.8 8.8 78.6 31.2 15.3 122.2
1975 19.3 9.6 76.8 32.5 16.5 123.8
1976 19.0 9.7 73.5 32.1 16.9 117.9
1977 19.8 10.5 73.0 34.6 18.7 121.7
1978 19.1 10.3 68.8 35.1 19.3 119.6
1979 19.9 10.8 71.0 37.2 21.0 123.3
1980 20.6 12.0 68.8 39.0 24.1 118.2
1981 20.9 12.6 65.9 39.0 24.6 114.2
1982 21.5 13.1 66.3 39.6 25.3 112.7
1983 22.0 13.6 66.8 40.7 26.4 111.9
1984 21.9 13.7 66.5 42.5 27.9 113.6
1985 22.4 14.5 66.8 45.9 31.2 117.9
1986 22.8 14.9 67.0 48.0 33.5 121.1
1987 24.5 16.2 69.9 48.9 34.5 123.0
1988 26.4 17.6 73.5 51.5 36.8 130.5
1989 28.7 19.3 78.9 56.0 40.2 140.9
1990 29.6 20.4 78.8 60.7 44.9 143.7
1991 30.9 21.8 80.4 65.7 49.6 148.7
1992 30.4 21.6 78.0 67.3 51.5 147.8
1993 30.6 22.1 76.8 66.9 52.4 141.6
1994 32.0 24.1 75.1 70.1 56.4 141.6
1995 30.5 23.6 68.6 67.6 55.4 131.2
1996 29.0 22.7 64.0 65.9 54.1 129.2
1997 28.2 22.4 60.6 65.2 53.6 127.2
1998 27.0 21.8 56.5 64.2 53.5 123.5
1999 25.5 21.0 51.5 63.3 53.3 117.9

Note:  Rates are per 1,000 unmarried women in specified group. 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:  See Figures BIRTH 3a and BIRTH 3b.

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