for 1996 Welfare Reform Law Bonus to Reward Declines in Nonmarital Births:
The regulations to implement the “Bonus to Reward Decrease in Illegitimacy Ratio,” an incentive provision included in The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, specify that States and territories will qualify for the bonus, administered by the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), if they are among the top five States with respect to their reduction in the percentage of births that are out of wedlock. The Final Rule to Implement Section 403 (a) (2) of the Social Security Act; Bonus to Reward Decrease in Illegitimacy Ratio was published in the Federal Register, Volume 64, No. 71, April 14, 1999.
The specific birth data that are the basis for the bonus awards are the ratios of nonmarital births to total births for the most recent 2-year period for which data are available and the ratios for the prior 2-year period for each State. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), an agency within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS, was assigned the task of providing the data. The birth data are provided by the States and the District of Columbia to NCHS through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program (VSCP). NCHS also obtains birth data from the territories. These data are compiled and published annually by NCHS.
The data on births to unmarried women are based in all but a few States on a direct question on the birth certificate, “Mother married? (At birth, conception, or any time between) (Yes or no)”. The remaining States infer the mother’s marital status on the basis of other information available in the birth registration process. In the past, some States and registration areas had changed their procedures for reporting the mother’s marital status. The Final Rule specifically states that these States, if they wish to compete for the bonus, must provide NCHS with data that adjusts for the changes in reporting, so that the State’s data for the full 4-year bonus period are as comparable as possible. During the sixth bonus period, 1999-2002, there were no changes in procedures in any registration area; therefore no States were required to provide adjusted data.
The attached table (View/download PDF 29 KB) shows two panels of data. The first panel shows for each State, the ratios (percentage) of nonmarital births to total births for 1999 and 2000 combined and for 2001 and 2002 combined. The adjacent column shows the percentage change in the ratio (percentage) of nonmarital births from 1999-2000 to 2001-2002. The last panel lists the States with respect to their change (in order of largest decline to largest increase) (territories are listed separately) and the rank of the States that have a decline. Data shown for all States are identical to the data compiled and previously published by NCHS. In the sixth bonus period, four States and the District of Columbia had a reduction in their ratio of nonmarital births. The reductions were in the District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. The ratio also declined in American Samoa; the reduction for American Samoa was larger than any of the State-specific declines.
This page last reviewed
October 15, 2008