Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2003. Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 2. Births to Unmarried Teens

03/01/2003

Figure BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race: 1940-2001

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 2001,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 51 (2), December 2002.

  • In contrast to the earlier 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 fell in the last three years, from 9.7 to 8.7 percent, reversing a long upward trend since 1940. This rate 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.
  • The percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens has also dropped among white women over the past four years, declining to 7.3 percent in 2001. This drop is in contrast to the long upward trend, from less than 1 percent in 1960 to nearly 8 percent in 1998.
  • Among black women, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens fell to 17.5 percent in 2001, the lowest percentage since 1969. This rate has varied greatly since 1940, rising sharply to a peak of 24 percent in 1975, and showing a gradual decline in most years since then. The sharp increase in the late 1960s and early 1970s reflects a 30 percent rise in non-marital teen births among black women concurrent with a 6 percent decline in total black births from 1969 to 1975.

Table BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race: 1940-2001

Year All Races White Black
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 2001,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 51 (2), December 2002.
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 9.1 7.6 18.3
2001 8.7 7.3 17.5

 

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