Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2002. Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 2. Births to Unmarried Teens

03/01/2002

Figure BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race: 1940-2000

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 2000,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 50 (5), February 2002.

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 2000,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 50 (5), February 2002.

  • 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 rose from just under 2 percent in 1940 to just under 10 percent in 1994 and saw a modest decline in 1999 and 2000. It may be affected by several factors: the age distribution of women, the marriage rate among teens, the birth rate among unmarried teens, and the birth rate among all other women.
  • Between 1960 and 2000, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens trended upward among white women, from less than 1 percent in 1960 to nearly 8 percent in 2000.
  • 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 just under 19 percent in 2000, the lowest percentage since 1970. The sharp increase in the late 1960s and early 1970s reflects a large increase in non-marital births to black teenagers at a time when overall births to black women were declining.

Table BIRTH 2. Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19 as a Percentage of All Births, by Race: 1940-2000

  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 9.5 7.8 19.1
2000 9.3 7.7 18.9

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 status 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; “Births: Final Data for 2000,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 50 (5), February 2002.

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