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Rise in Unwed Mothers Is Highest for Those in 20s

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Rise in Unwed Mothers Is Highest for Those in 20s

Analysis

Rise in Unwed Mothers Is Highest for Those in 20s

Rise in Unwed Mothers Is Highest for Those in 20s

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6537399/6537400" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

This week, the National Center for Health Statistics released a report showing that almost 4 in 10 of the 4.5 million babies born in the United States last year were born to unwed mothers. That's the highest rate of out-of-wedlock births on record.

Those births are up among all age groups — except for females from 10 to 17 years old. The age group reporting the largest jump in out-of-wedlock births is women in their 20s.

Host Scott Simon speaks to Sharon Camp, the president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute.

The trend, Camp says, is a long-term one: Women are becoming sexually active by the end of their teen years, but they're delaying marriage later and later into their 20s.

And while she notes that some of the births are to unwed couples living together, a number of them are unplanned.

Camp says that "women-headed households are among the poorest of the poor, everywhere in the world." Also, Camp says that while they're likely the sole source of support for their children, "many these women may already have children."

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