Births to Unmarried Mothers: United States, 1980-92
Birth rates for unmarried women of all ages and races are high, and rising, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. The report, "Births to Unmarried Mothers: United States, 1980-92," presents data on prenatal care, tobacco use, maternal weight gain, and birthweight. The source of the data for this report is the certificate of live births filed with the vital records office within each State.
The risk that an unmarried woman will have a baby increased substantially between 1980 and 1991. Measured by birth rate, this risk increased from 29.4 per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44 years in 1980 to 45.2 per 1,000 unmarried women in 1991, a 54-percent rise.
Unmarried mothers are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care, more likely to smoke during pregnancy, and less likely to gain adequate weight during pregnancy. As a consequence of these and other factors, babies born to unmarried women are at an elevated risk of low birthweight.
Age-specific birth rates for white unmarried women doubled from 1980 to 1992, while rates for black women in the same age groups rose much less.
This page last reviewed
January 11, 2007