For mothers under 30, majority are unmarried
NYTimes article from 2012
- 55% of mothers under 30 are unmarried
- There is large disparity based on education, which probably mirror social class. For white women with just high school education the number is 51%. For white women with college degree, the number is 8%.
- The article has a few case studies. One of them (Amber Strader) got pregnant in an unstable relationship with a coworker. She didn't think he was worth marrying, never considered it. Her second kids father didn't want to get married.
- The article claims almost all of the rise in unmarried births is from couples that live together. It further claims that, unlike some other countries, unmarried cohabiting couples in America are more likely to break up. A University of Michigan study says two thirds of such couples split by the time their kid reaches age 10.
- One explanation proposed is decline in men's wages and rise on women's wages, decreasing the economic need between couples
- Another explanation proposed is decreasing social stigma around being unmarried with kids. This seems like a bit of chicken-before-the-egg argument though
- A final explanation proposed is the rise in social welfare programs, particularly programs that are means tested and discourage marriage
The article ends with a quote reminiscent of Idiocracy:
Between nursing classes and an all-night job at a gas station, she rarely sees her 6-year-old daughter, who is left with a rotating cast of relatives. The girl’s father has other children and rarely lends a hand.