Skip to comments.Changing Face of Motherhood: Who's Giving Birth?
Posted on 05/24/2009 7:54:46 PM PDT by bdeaner
The number of children born outside a stable married life continues to rise. Northern European countries have the highest levels of births to single women, but the United States is catching up.
The latest figures come from a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the May Data Brief issued by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, births to unmarried women totaled 1,714,643 in 2007, 26% more than in 2002. As a result in 2007 nearly 4 in 10 births in the U.S. were to unmarried women.
Contrary to the traditional concerns about adolescent single mothers, the report noted that the rise in birth rates was concentrated in women in their 20s or older, while declining or changing little for unmarried teenagers. In fact, teenagers accounted for just 23% of non-marital births in 2007, down steeply from 50% in 1970.
Thus, while no less than 86% of teenage births are non-marital, older women are catching up. For women aged 20-24, 60% of births were to singles, and nearly one-third of births to women 25-29 were non-marital in 2007. Overall, in 2007, 45% of births in the 20s age bracket were to unmarried women.
The higher number of single mothers in the older age groups is a recent change, according to the CDC.
For women over 30, about one in six births were to singles in 2007, much higher than the proportion in 1970: 1 in 12.
Births outside marriage are typically low for the youngest teens and for women over 35, and are highest for women in their early twenties, the report observed.
Racial background also influences the percentages of single mothers. Births outside marriage are highest for Hispanic women followed by black women. Rates for non-Hispanic white and Asian or Pacific Islander women are much lower.
The proportions in the United States are considerably higher than in some industrialized countries. For example, 30% or less of recent births were to unmarried women in Germany, Spain, Canada, Italy, and Japan.
Other European countries, however, have higher proportions of single mothers. The latest information from the Eurostat, the official statistical body for the European Union, is also for 2007.
It shows that Denmark, for example, had 46.1% of live births occurring outside marriage. France was even higher, at 51.69%, as was Sweden, at 54.76%. Iceland had the highest proportion, at 63.77%.
Meanwhile, in Britain, marriage continues to weaken. The latest data revealed that marriage rates are at their lowest since they were first calculated in 1862, reported the Times newspaper, Feb. 13.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for 2007 showed that only one in 50 single women marries each year, and only one in 43 single men. The information relates just to England and Wales.
There were 231,450 marriages in 2007, a decline of 3.3% compared to the previous year. The number of marriages has fallen by a quarter since 1991, according to the ONS.
The average age at first marriage continued to be high. In 2007 it reached 31.9 years for men and 29.8 for women, compared with 31.8 and 29.7 respectively, the year before.
No church bells
The number of couples getting married in religious ceremonies has gone down as well. There were 77,490 religious weddings in England and Wales in 2007. That number means church weddings have halved since the early 1980s.
A couple of months later, another report from the ONS gave more details on family life. According to a report published Apr. 16 by the Telegraph newspaper, the percentage of households comprising the traditional nuclear family -- a couple with children -- fell from 52% to 36% in the period between 1971 and 2008.
The number of adults living alone has gone from 6% to 12% in the same period, due to a combination of divorce and marrying at a later age.
Overall, around 1.6 million children were being brought up by an unmarried couple in 2008, a sharp rise on the figure of 1 million a decade previously.
The decline of marriage and the traditional family continues as research confirms that children are best off when raised in a stable married environment.
A March 11 report by the Canadian Institute of Marriage and Family looked at the differences between children brought up in married homes and those raised by cohabiting couples.
Frank Jones, a research fellow at the institute, analyzed data from Statistics Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth.
He found that that teens who as children had parents who cohabited are more likely than teens of married parents to: smoke; sell drugs; engage in sexual intercourse; have a lower age of sexual initiation; have poor relationships with their mom and dad; and have parents who do not get along.
"Marriage benefits children in ways that living together does not," Jones commented. "Public policy should acknowledge the social good that healthy marriage delivers."
One of the reasons that children fare better when raised by a married couple is the greater degree of stability in the household. Married parents are more than twice as likely to stay together compared to those who are unwed, reported the British newspaper the Daily Mail, Oct. 18.
The information came from the Millennium Cohort Study, a survey of more than 15,000 children born in the first two years of this decade.
The study found that 23% of children of cohabiting parents had suffered the breakup of their families before they reached the age of 5. By contrast only one in 10 children of married parents saw them divorce or separate before reaching 5 years of age.
In spite of the clear evidence in favor of marriage, government policy in many countries fails to support married couples sufficiently.
Civitas, an English study group, published a report in January showing that married couples are thousands of pounds worse off than single parents when it comes to taxes and benefits.
In the report "Individualists Who Co-Operate," Civitas also pointed out that the welfare system financially rewards single mothers if they live separately from their partner. The fiscal disadvantage of forming a single household or getting married is especially marked for those on a lower income.
In what Civitas termed "a triumph of romance over economics," many couples choose to live together in spite of the loss of welfare benefits. Clearly, the study pointed out, without these powerful economic incentives favoring living apart, there would be a greater number of couples coming together.
Britain is particularly unfavorable to married couples, the report continued. It cited data from a 2006 survey of industrialized nations, showing that a single income married couple with children in the UK paid 40% more tax compared to other countries.
"The importance of the family for the life and well-being of society entails a particular responsibility for society to support and strengthen marriage and the family," the Catechism of the Catholic Church observes in No. 2210. A responsibility often neglected today, to the cost of society itself and to countless families.
typo in your title
Oops. Any way to change that?
One of the worst trends in the past 40 years has been the devauling of marriage and acceptance of having children out of wedlock.
Liberals have pushed so hard to be non-judgemental about these types of bad behaviors. Can anyone honestly say that it’s good for society to have critical masses of people having children out of wedlock? We have paid a massive price as a society for the fallout from the out of wedlock births.
We’re told that it was bad that it was so shameful in the old days to be pregnant without a husband. Well, is it really better today that now we excuse that behavior and make no moral or other judgements about it? Society has to pay the price in more ways than one for this whole “baby mama” culture that has taken root in the culture.
So what was worse - the individual girl feeling the shame of her community that she was pregnant, or the massive costs that critical masses of these girls and their boyfriends have imposed on the rest of us?
And let's not forget that this destruction of the traditional family was all part of the early Gramscian/Stalinist scheme to destroy the American way and replace it with communism.
at least they aren’t murdering the kids in the womb.
Who is giving birth? How about the guy, who was a gal, who became a guy — got pregnant — and then gave birth as a guy? Where does he/she fit into the statistical records? Maybe the first — but not the last?
The shame was one-sided ... that was the problem.
What shame, if any, do you ascribe to the males?
I am not an advocate of abortion.
I don’t understand what skewed logic you think I have. The topic here wasn’t abortion. I don’t understand what you are getting at by talking about whether women or men benefit most from abortion on demand.
I do ascribe shame to the males for causing a pregnancy and then not taking responsibility for same. They should be ashamed in my opinion.
I’m giving birth, just like I have been every couple of years since 1989. From those who *choose* not to, the concerns of demographic irrelevance ring rather hollow.
1. The pendulum keeps swinging back and forth, from a narrow arc over the middle to the occasional extreme of right and left
2. The pendulum swings completely to the left and gets stuck there. The most advanced societies embrace global communism, relinquish their sovereignty, and the world enters a terrible Dark Ages II, for how long, I have no idea. But the system will fail eventually, the people will form into factions and rebel, and the nations rebuild again, pretty much from scratch.
It's smart to have a plan for yourself and your family should either of the scenarios play out. If we continue, hedge against the future seizure of your savings and earnings. If the latter, have a bug-out plan with some alternative real estate where you can live independently.
Or the 66-year-old woman in Britain who’s gestating a baby manufactured in Ukraine, because she wants to and she can.
These people may be statistical outliers, but they’re philosophically right in the mainstream: “What I want, when I want it, and nobody can stop me.”
For me, the issue is not so much demographic irrelevance — I think a lot of that rhetoric is bigotry, frankly — but, rather, it is an issue of the destruction of family structure. And I think that serves a purpose for those in power, in order to ramp up the nanny state. Obama is already talking about extending the school day. When public schools become in all essential details a replacement for the parents in the communication of culture, we are in big trouble.
Congrats! our latest was born two weeks ago
Yes, it does. This is covered in great detail in an interesting book, "Conservative History of the American Left" (or very similar title. The apparent "beneficiaries" of the government takeover of families and other social systems are *not* the people who enacted the policies: that was the liberal elites, for their own purposes.
Congratulations to you! I will have mine less than two weeks from now, probably in the first few days of June. Then I will be a nice person again, instead of a raving crackpot armed with heavy-duty cleaning supplies ;-).
I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve long since stopped attributing good intentions to leftists.
it’s not the changing face of motherhood.
Alas, it’s the changing face of fatherhood...
for reading later
Congratulations!! I wish you a speedy, pain free birth! I know, I know. Not going to happen but I wish it for you anyway! We’re expecting number 5 in December. I’m still in the ‘sneak in a nap wherever possible’ phase. I hope to be ending that soon!
Congratulations to you, too! I may have the Brother today or tomorrow, and everything will be great once I have the epidural ;-).