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

03/01/2014

Figure BIRTH 4. Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: 1982-2011

(In percent)

Figure BIRTH 4. Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: 1982-2011

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: 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, http://www.census.gov/hhesfamilies/data/cps2011.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 1982 to 2011. Table BIRTH 4 shows corresponding estimates for selected years between 1960 and 2011. The percentage of children living in families with never-married female heads increased from 4.6 percent in 1982 to 11.3 percent in 2011.
  • 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 6.8 percent in 2011.
  • 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 13.3 percent in 2011.
  • 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 2011, 36.2 percent of Black children lived in families with a never-married female head of household compared to 6.8 percent for White children and 13.3 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

Year Number of Children (thousands) Percentage
All Races White Black Hispanic3 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
1982 1 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 2 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

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 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, http://www.census.gov/hhesfamilies/data/cps2011.html..

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

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