According to a new study by Child Trends, more than half of the births to American women under the age of  30 occur to non-married women. While out-of-wedlock births used to pertain to mostly to minority and/or poor women, the study found that white women in their 20s are leading the trend. 

While the overall amount of births of women of all ages occur to married women (59%), the growing numbers of children born to unmarried women could soon hint at a large cultural shift: marriage is no longer seen as that important.

The New York Times reports:

Among mothers of all ages, a majority — 59 percent in 2009 — are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women — nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30 — is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.

One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.

“Marriage has become a luxury good,” said Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

Racial disparities in the out-of-wedlock birthrate still remain ( 73 percent of black children, 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of white children are born to unwed mothers), but the growing trend of nonmarital births occur to couples who are living together. However, unlike in other countries where unmarried couples stay together for longer periods of time, here in the U.S. most couples who have children without being married break up before the child turns 10.

Researchers across the board agree that a two parent household is best for children, but increasingly people seem to be waiting longer and longer to get married, and some say this shift suggests that “marriage is not as fundamental to society” as it once was.

While it remains to be seen how the devaluation of marriage will affect our culture as a whole, it’s hard to ignore the fact that a growing number of people are creating the life they want outside of what’s seen as “traditional” and “acceptable.”

  • QoN

    Progress…We’ve fought long and hard to reach this high point in our civilization. The children will be pleased.

  • laurenghini

    The study actually states this: “For white women with some college education, the share of births that occur outside of marriage has grown especially quickly. The proportion is now more than triple that in 1990.” While the PROPORTION of out-of-wedlock births is increasing at a faster RATE among whites, blacks still have this OOW birth trend on lock: the VAST MAJORITY of our children are born to unwed mothers – 73%. The VAST MAJORITY of white children are born to a married couple – 71%. How can white women in their 20s possibly be considered leaders on this OOW birth trend?

  • CD86

    I have no desire to ever get married, but I also have no desire to have children with someone who I am not in a committed relationship with.

  • haffie

    So sad at the end the child is the one suffering.

  • http://changecomesslow.com/2012/01/19/slut-shaming-and-victim-blaming-the-word-no-part-11/ Nikeshaelise

    Family trends will be markedly different for this generation and the ones after. The much balled about subject of marriage and who’s doing it continues to pop up when studies are released saying marriage is down and divorce threatens to rise. Many people know they want children but with some strides in education, income and wealth that picture does not always include marriage and a neutral family. Yes studies show that children born to single parents suffer more start in life harm than good, but the trends are now outpacing the studies so results from 3-5 years ago may already be archaic. I think we should wait to judge what will happen to children of the future born to single mothers circa now… We may be pleasantly surprised… I hope

  • E.M.S.

    There’s a number of reasons why women have children without being married. Unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy during engagement, or just plain pregnancy because they want a child but don’t want to be married.

    It’s simply showing how society is moving towards being more open minded about family life and relationships. And the world isn’t going to fall apart because of that shift.

    Consider also how unfair it’s been that we’re pressured to be married to “validate” our relationships to the rest of the world. And at the same time, the validation of marriage devalues other long term committed relationships, which I think is wrong. Particularly when marriage is rarely was perfect as everyone likes to think it is.

  • Stephanie

    Stop with the nonsense and these false principles! Studies like these just give women the impression that if they’re not married then basically they’re children are useless to society.

    My parents are married but they should have NEVER been! It’s just horrible! It’s an unwanted marriage completely all around. I would’ve been more sane with them just not being together. So please with that bull about married families have happier kids.

    Yes, I’m accomplished. But that isn’t due to my parents being married. It’s due to me not wanting to have what they have and my desire to achieve something in this life.

    There is nothing wrong with being a single parent or out of wedlock parent. Those that are single or have out of wedlock children whether you be a man or a woman, if you are taking care of your kids, you are doing just fine. Give them the love that they need from you, family love *from both sides of the family if you can*, financial support that you can give, encourage them to be somebody, leave their mark in this world and they will succeed. Trust me.

    Married parents aren’t always the best parents especially if they don’t love each other. I’ve LIVED that experience. Please.

  • Well

    They are leading the trend because there are more white women in america; for black women it is disproportionate. So there are more white women with COOW than black women, but you will still run into a black woman with a COOW faster than you would a white women.

  • http://www.DCAfterWork.com AlesiaMichelle

    “marriage is not as fundamental to society”
    I really hope not. My parents were not married and it is probably a good thing that they weren’t. I turned out fine and didn’t necessarily need 2 parents in the home. But that doesn’t make me want marriage any less. I may have flourished in a single parent home, but I don’t want that for myself. I want marriage.

  • Keep it Real

    I’m not saying liberalism and progressivism doesn’t work. I’m just telling you it doesn’t work in the hood. Stop believing the liberal lies and start using your brain. These white elitist, liberals and progressives with their social engineering programs don’t live in the black community. The white feminist are going home to their husbands or in the worst case a community full of homes headed by men. They are not in the hood. The worst thing to ever happen to the black community was giving money to poor black women who were uneducated, unskilled, unemployed and unmarried for every kid she had. The poor black woman no longer needed the poor black man to put a roof over her head, food on the table and clothes on her and the kids backs. Hell, she even had enough money left over to buy a couple of smokes. This is the root of the destruction of the black family and the black community. Many of the problems that blacks face today have actually been created by welfare. Who’s boys do you think are running around terrorizing black communities and who’s girls do you think are having 4 and 5 babies by multiple different men? Kids of welfare black babymammas! It’s not politically correct but it’s the truth. The black community will never be productive with 72% illegitimacy and non men in the home. It has never been done in the history of civilization by any race, fact. So the point must be made and repeated on these blogs to single black women who might be offended. This is not about your son or daughter this is about the community as a whole. Who cares if 2 or 3 black kids become successful and productive if the remaining 7 black kids fall through the cracks and perish? The community is still going to be dysfunctional. Blacks have lost their sense of community and now it’s all about me and mine. I got mine……. mine went to college. The funny thing is we never here on these blogs from the black baby mama who had 4 kids, one is a drug addict, another has a bunch of kids by a bunch of different men, another is in jail for assault/murder and the last one she doesn’t know where in the hell he’s at. Maybe this is a little extreme but not by much.

    From 1900 to 1950 black women had a higher rate of marriage than white women. Don’t believe the lie that the black man always abandoned his kids. The black community was poor but extremely stable. In the last 50 years, black women went from the highest percentage of married women to the lowest. According to 2011 U.S. Census Black women between the ages of 35 and 44 have the highest rate of singlehood compared to other women in the same age bracket. 31% of African American women by their early forties have never married as compared to only 9% of Whites, 11% of Asian women, and 12% of Latino women in the same age group. It’s been 50 years of blacks following liberals. Now, today, half of all black pregnancies are aborted, 72% of the remaining black kids are illegitimate and 50% of those black kids drop out of H.S. A community is judged on it’s development of it’s kids.The future AT THIS TIME is already set in stone for the black community. It’s called “A Permanent Underclass”. Yes, black women are now going to college but less than 18% graduate. What about the other 82% of black girls/women? These are the majority of black women/girls having kids. Think about it like this. Who had a better life. Shaniqua never married living alone on welfare with her 4 kids by 3 different men in a dysfuctional black community with the majority of other black women also single baby mammas OR her great great grand mother Martha Louise who got married in 1950 at age 18 and her and her husband had 6 kids. They were poor and faced racism, discrimination ect. but raised the kids together in a stable black community where other black husbands and wives also raised their kids. Who had a better life Martha lou or Shaniqua? Which kids were in a better home? I’m not advocating going back to the 1950′s I’m just pointing out that this Matriarchal Utopia Lie the liberals promised you all needs to be reevaluated. You must reject (loudly) this Feminist big lie “The man is wanted but not NEEDED in the home”. White elitist, Progressives, liberals and Feminist with their promotion of the “New Familial Structure” and rejection of the traditional nuclear family and their social engineering policies did something that 400 years of Slavery, Jim crow and discrimination was unable to do. Destroy the black family.

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  • Blasé

    LOL@ “marriage is a luxury good”. i don’t care much for marriage just like i know i don’t need or want MS-DOS on my macbook…

    I think this study should also say the same for men – the number of men having children under 30 is high too and the likelihood of them marrying the mother(s) of their children is low.

  • Renee

    I totally agree with your comments. I am a black woman who observes this type of behavior on a daily basis. My profession allows me to assist those women who would like to change their situation as well as their kids. Sorry to say the 1950′s were more positive for black families as far as the structure of our families. Morals, respect and honor were valued. Black men had pride in themselves and their ability to take care of their families.

  • jejozi

    White women lead in total numbers. But if you look at percentages, blacks lead the way by a large margin. Whites make up over 70% of the total population, but only 29% of white children are born out of wedlock. Blacks make up 10% of the population but 70% of black children are born out of wedlock. Between 1950 and 1960, the out of wedlock birthrate was less than 5% of all births, today its 40%. So, while there was sex in the 50s, it was mainly occurring among married couples.

    The flippant attitude towards the rising out of wedlock birthrate is part of the problem. The chances of OOW babies growing up to lead a productive life, one that isn’t dependent on government handouts, is low. Those children are more likely to also have OOW babies, and their chances of success are also poor. And on, and on, and on.

    Ladies, get some self esteem, use birth control and keep your knees together.

  • jejozi

    Unplanned pregnancy? Do they not know the possible outcome of unprotected sex? That is not an excuse anymore. The number occurring during engagement is statistically small and those wanting a baby without marriage are selfish. It’s a fact that children coming from one parent households grow up financially less well off, have a higher chance of being on welfare, have more health problems and have a higher chance of producing more illegitimate children, which continues the cycle.

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  • http://gravatar.com/paperpushermj paperpushermj

    You all can argue about marriage until the Cows come home. What about the Children from these Single parent Homes?
    Read and Weep!”
    .
    73 percent of black children, 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of white children are born to unwed mothers.” This has devastating consequences since “children brought up in single-mother homes ‘are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape (for the boys), 20 times more likely to end up in prison, and 32 times more likely to run away from home.’”

  • Kens

    I am not that successful.I have 3 graduate degrees,two kids in college and 2 toddlers.I was a single parent earlier with the first set of kids and have shared custody in the second.The relationships failed.
    I have no plans to be married again or live with a woman.However,I will consider having a baby with a well meaning,educated professional woman desiring a baby. Actions like mine, and those of women who may allow us, contribute to elevated statistics in these studies.
    Necessity may be the mother of invention, so to speak.If a woman feels like there may be no marriage in sight and the clock is ticking,or whatever,she may opt to have a baby out of wedlock and feel justified. Statistics can be manipulated to reflect whatever someone wants really-in this case,they make black women look bad when they don’t have to.

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