Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress. Nonmarital Birth Risk Factor 4. Never-married Family Status

09/22/2015

Figure BIRTH 4. Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: 1982-2012

Figure BIRTH 4. Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: 1982-2012

Note: Data are for all children under 18 who are not family heads (excludes householders, subfamily reference persons and their spouses).  Inmates of institutions also are excluded.  Children who are living with neither of their parents are excluded from the denominator.  Based on Current Population Survey (CPS) data.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  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 of CPS data: U.S. Census Bureau, “Marital Status and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Series P20-212, 287, 365, 380, 399, 418, 423, 433, 445, 450, 461, 468, 478, 484, 491, 496, 506, 514 and “America’s Families and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Table C3, http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013C.html.


  • Figure BIRTH 4 shows the percentage of all children living in families with a never-married female head of household by race and ethnicity from 1980 to 2012.  Table BIRTH 4 shows corresponding estimates for selected years between 1960 and 2012.  The percentage of children living in families with never‑married female heads increased from 4.6 percent in 1982 to 11.7 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of White children living in families headed by never-married women has increased more than fourfold over the past 25 years, from 1.6 percent in 1982 to 7.0 percent in 2012.
  • Among Hispanics of all races, the percentage of children living with a never-married female head of household more than doubled over the past 25 years, from 5.7 percent in 1982 to 13.4 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of Black children living in families with a never-married female head of household has been higher than the percentages for other groups throughout the time period.  In 2012, 36.5 percent of Black children lived in families with a never-married female head of household compared to 7.0 percent for White children and 13.4 percent for Hispanic children.

Table BIRTH 4.  Number and Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: Selected Years

 

Number of Children (thousands)

Percentage

Year

All Races

White

Black

Hispanic2

All Races

White

Black

Hispanic

1960

221

49

173

NA

0.4

0.1

2.2

NA

1970

527

110

442

NA

0.8

0.2

5.2

NA

1975

1,166

296

864

NA

1.8

0.5

9.9

NA

1980

1,745

501

1,193

210

2.9

1.0

14.5

4.0

1981

1,807

527

1,245

202

3.0

1.0

15.0

4.0

19821

2,768

793

1,947

291

4.6

1.6

22.7

5.7

1983

3,212

958

2,203

357

5.3

1.9

24.9

6.7

1984

3,131

959

2,109

357

5.2

1.9

23.9

6.5

1985

3,496

1,086

2,355

391

5.8

2.2

26.6

6.7

1986

3,606

1,174

2,375

451

5.9

2.4

26.6

7.2

1987

3,985

1,385

2,524

587

6.5

2.8

28.2

9.2

1988

4,302

1,482

2,736

600

7.0

3.0

30.4

9.2

1989

4,290

1,483

2,695

592

6.9

2.9

29.6

8.7

1990

4,365

1,527

2,738

605

7.0

3.0

29.6

8.7

1991

5,040

1,725

3,176

644

8.0

3.4

33.3

9.0

1992

5,410

2,016

3,192

757

8.4

3.9

33.1

10.3

1993

5,511

2,015

3,317

848

8.5

3.9

33.6

11.3

1994

6,000

2,412

3,321

1,083

9.0

4.5

32.9

12.0

1995

5,862

2,317

3,255

1,017

8.7

4.3

32.3

10.8

1996

6,365

2,563

3,567

1,161

9.4

4.8

34.4

12.0

1997

6,598

2,788

3,575

1,242

9.7

5.1

34.3

12.4

1998

6,700

2,850

3,644

1,254

9.8

5.2

35.1

12.2

1999

6,736

2,826

3,643

1,297

9.8

5.2

35.3

12.2

2000

6,591

2,881

3,413

1,255

9.5

5.3

32.9

11.4

2001

6,736

3,002

3,481

1,397

9.8

5.5

33.2

11.9

2002

6,872

3,048

3,573

1,400

9.9

5.6

33.4

11.5

2003

7,006

3,029

3,451

1,495

10.0

5.6

33.3

11.9

2004

7,218

3,113

3,541

1,577

10.3

5.8

34.1

12.0

2005

7,413

3,284

3,617

1,627

10.6

6.0

35.5

12.0

2006

7,443

3,263

3,557

1,677

10.6

6.0

35.0

12.0

2007

6,945

2,928

3,501

1,569

9.8

5.4

33.2

10.8

2008

7,236

2,994

3,707

1,649

10.2

5.5

35.6

11.0

2009

7,450

3,254

3,642

1,918

10.5

6.0

35.3

12.2

2010

7,543

3,440

3,548

1,987

10.5

6.3

34.0

12.2

2011

8,080

3,706

3,732

2,233

11.3

6.8

36.2

13.3

2012

8,356

3,686

3,797

2,281

11.7

7.0

36.5

13.4

Note: Data are for all children under 18 who are not family heads (excludes householders, subfamily reference persons and their spouses).  Inmates of institutions also are excluded.

Children who are living with neither of their parents are excluded from the denominator.  Based on Current Population Survey (CPS) except 1960 which is based on decennial census data. 

1 In 1982, improved data collection and processing procedures helped to identify parent-child subfamilies (See Current Population Reports, P-20, 399, Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1984).  Some of the increase between 1981 and 1982 is a result of these changes.

 Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  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. Nonwhite data are shown for Black in 1960.

2 Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.

Source of 1960 data: U.S. Census Bureau, 1960 Census of Population, PC(2)-4B, “Persons by Family Characteristics,” Tables 1 and 19

Source of CPS data: U.S. Census Bureau, “Marital Status and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Series P20-212, 287, 365, 380, 399, 418, 423, 433, 445, 450, 461, 468, 478, 484, 491, 496, 506, 514 and “America’s Families and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Table C3, http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013C.html.

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