Study: 48 Percent of First Children are Born to Unwed Mothers

| by Michael Allen
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A new report by the National Marriage Project at University of Virginia, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and The Relate Institute shows that 48 percent of first births are by unwed mothers.

Also, for the first time in U.S. history, the median age of American women having babies, 25.7, is lower than the median age of marriage, 26.5, reports

Young adults see marriage and children as “two separate things,” said lead study author
Kay Hymowitz, a William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

“Culturally, young adults have increasingly come to see marriage as a ‘capstone’ rather than a ‘cornerstone’ – that is, something they do after they have all their ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood,” the report states.

“Researchers now view family instability as one of the greatest risks to children’s well being. Yet unmarried adults, including single 20-somethings who make up about half of unmarried parents, are by definition unsettled,' states the study, posted on

“Most researchers agree that on average, whether because of instability or absent fathers or both, children of unmarried mothers have poorer outcomes than children growing up with their married parents.”

However, the good news is for delayed marriage is that women can have more successful careers, and research shows that divorce rates are lower for later marriages.

The report concludes that “too many young adults are drifting unintentionally into parenthood before they have a plan or a partner who enable them to give their children the life and family they deserve."

Sources: and