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More Single Women Are Having Babies
Date:5/13/2009

In U.S., 40 percent of new moms aren't married, CDC reports ,,,,,,

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- The number of unmarried women having children has risen sharply in the United States and several other countries, according to U.S. health officials.

In the United States, 40 percent of births are now to unwed mothers, and most of these are to women in their 20s, not teenagers, according to a report, Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"After having relative stability in births to unmarried women from the mid 1990s to 2002, we've seen really big increases between 2002 and 2007," said Stephanie J. Ventura, director of the Reproductive Statistics Branch at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics and author of the report.

In the United States, out-of-wedlock births increased by 26 percent between 2002 and 2007, according to the report. In 1980, the rate of out-of-wedlock births was 18 percent.

Though the reasons for the increase are not clear, Ventura said, one factor might be that having a child when you're not married is no longer stigmatized.

"The whole thing about social disapproval pretty much evaporated in the last 10 or 15 years, and it's even more so now," Ventura said.

Also, the numbers of women having out-of-wedlock births in the United States is so large and widespread in all population groups that it cannot be accounted for by socioeconomic factors, Ventura said.

The trends, though, are concerning, she said.

"Births to unmarried women are at higher risk for poorer birth outcome," Ventura said. "They are more likely to be low birth weight, be preterm and die in infancy. Other research has shown that children are better off being raised in two-parent families."

In addition, because most of these births are unplanned, she said
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