- 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 four years, from 9.7 to 8.5 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 7.2 percent in 2002. 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 16.7 percent in 2002, 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.
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.
Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.
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 2002,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 52 (10), December 2003.
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