CDC statistics: Teen and unmarried birth rates are up
Yes, according to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and control (CDC) statistics, there is a baby boom going in the US. And looking at the actual figures, it’s interesting to see where the birth rate increases actually come from.
For the second year in a row, teen birth rates are up, according to a press release by the CDC. But because it takes time for the statistics to be compiled and analyzed, the press release was actually referring to 2007 figures. By teen birth rates, they were referring to infants born to moms aged 15 to 19 years old. Teen birth rates were on the decline since 1992 but increased 3% in 2006 and another 1% in 2007. We have to keep in mind that the 42.5 teen births per 1,000 in 2007 are pre-Jamie Lynn Spears and pre-Bristol Palin figures. There have been concerns last year that teen pregnancy is becoming “hip” in the US and there were even reports of teen pregnancy pacts. The statistics from last year’s and this year’s will show whether this increase is becoming a trend.
Another all-time high are births out of wedlock (forgive this rather not-so-politically correct term). Unmarried childbearing for women aged 15 to 44 years old has increased by 4% in 2007. It accounted for about 39.7% of all American births – equivalent to about 1.7 million babies. Unmarried childbearing is certainly becoming a trend, which has been increasing for the last 5 years (26% since 2002!). Whether this trend translates to more single moms is not clear.
The trend of increasing unmarried childbearing is also evident here in Europe where more and more couples think that marriage is not a prerequisite to having babies. This doesn’t mean that the children grow up with single moms. They still grow up in a conventional family setting of mom plus dad plus kids, albeit without the marriage ceremony. Living in/partnership is a civil status recognized by law in many European countries.
What do you think? Should marriage be a prerequisite to having babies?