Single-Motherhood Surges During ‘80s, ‘90s

The birth rate for unmarried women has surged since 1980, with the rate for white women nearly doubling. The overall rate is up more than 50 percent, the government says.

Teenagers, who once accounted for half the unwed births, bore fewer than one-third of these 1.2 million babies in 1992, the National Center for Health Statistics said Tuesday. The highest rate was for women in their early 20s.

The rising out-of-wedlock birth rates point to “a tremendous decline in the stigma” that society once attached to such births, said Stephanie Ventura, a demographer who prepared the report.

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