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More than half of young mothers are unmarried

As most of our blog readers are probably aware, the number of children being raised in single parent households has significantly increased in the past few decades. Now, for the first time, more than half of mothers who are under the age of 30 when they have children are not married at the time of their child’s birth. This has likely led to an increase in family court petitions for child support, custody and related issues in Las Vegas and throughout the country.

Despite the increase, nearly 60 percent of women in the U.S. are married when they have children. But 41 percent of children are born outside of marriage, which increases to 53 percent when the mother is under 30. But because nearly two-thirds of U.S. children are born to women under 30, this means that the percentage of children born to single parents may soon overtake the percentage of children born to married parents.

Interestingly, the mother’s education level seemed to significantly influence whether she would have a child outside of marriage. College graduates are more likely to get married before having children than mothers with some post-secondary education or a high school diploma.

The concept of single parenthood seems to inspire some very opinionated commentary from critics who say that children born outside of marriage face an additional risk of suffering from emotional and behavioral problems, living in poverty or failing in school. While this may or may not be the case, it does not take into account the number of children who are living in stable homes with two parents who have simply chosen not to get married. This increasingly common occurrence has contributed to the rise in children born to unmarried mothers, researchers say.

Source: Columbus Dispatch, “Culture shift: Single moms a new normal,” Jason DeParle, Feb. 18, 2012

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