The rate of children born outside of marriage has been gradually declining, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Birth rates among unmarried women in the United States between the ages of 35 and 39 have increased 48 percent between 2002 and 2012, Fox News reports. The rate for older women between 40 and 44 years old rose 29 percent between 2007 and 2012.
The number of unmarried births in 2013 totaled about 1.6 million, which was the lowest since 2005, and 7 percent lower than an all-time high in 2008, the report says.
"It's still high compared with previous generations, but there has been a decline," report author Sally Curtin, a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told HealthDay via U.S. News and World Report.
She adds that this pattern started when the recession began in 2007.
"The areas that had the worst economic downturn also had the largest drops in the fertility rate," Curtin said.
Time magazine reports that older mothers tend to be better educated, more financially stable and more likely to have a healthier birth rate than they have in the past.
“While we do watch them more carefully, we don’t want people to fear that they absolutely can’t and shouldn’t get pregnant after age 35,” says Dr. Rebecca Starck, chair of the department of regional obstetrics and gynecology at Cleveland Clinic. “It’s not an absolute risk, it’s a relative risk.”