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Young First-Time Mothers Less Likely to be Married, Census Bureau Reports

“The percentage of young first-time mothers who are married is dropping, according to Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012, a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the early 1990s, at least half of all first births to mothers younger than age 23 occurred in marriage. Since 2005, more young mothers were cohabiting (38 percent) than were married (24 percent) at the time of their first birth. However, the majority of all women continue to have their first child within marriage. Fertility of Women in the United States: 2012 uses data from the 2012 American Community Survey and the 2012 Current Population Survey. The report examines women’s marital status at the time of their first births, the completed fertility of women up to age 50 and the fertility patterns of young women. Fertility patterns are shown by race, ethnicity, age, citizenship and employment status, as well as state of residence. “In this report, we explore changes in women’s relationship status at first birth over time, as well as fertility patterns of women up to age 50,” said demographer Lindsay Monte of the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch, and one of the report’s authors. “It’s important to track these changes in fertility because recent research suggests that childbearing is related to women’s rates of employment, their educational attainment and their economic well-being.”

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