Unmarried parenthood in the US reached an all-time high in 2013, with an estimated two out of every five births being to unwed mothers. The lower the household income, the more common out-of-wedlock births tend to be for first-time mothers. Almost 60% of first births in lower-middle-class US households are to unmarried mothers. For mothers who have less than a high-school education, more than 80% of their first births are out-of-wedlock. The rate of out-of-wedlock first births for college graduates, on the other hand, is only 12%. Teen pregnancies, which once led to the majority of unmarried parenthood in the US, accounted for just one-fifth of all nonmarital births in early 2013. The increase in unmarried parenthood is thought to be the result of people delaying marriage but not delaying having kids, because more women are working and are financially independent. The average marriage age in the US in 2010 was about 28 for men and 26 for women, up from 26.8 and 25.1, respectively, in 2000.
More about parenthood and marriage:
- The typical unmarried mother in the US is in her 20s, has a high school education and often is in a committed relationship with her child’s father.
- The rate of US teen pregnancy declined by 42% from 1990 through 2008.
- About 40% of unmarried US parents are no longer together within the first five years of their child’s life, compared with less than 15% of married parents.