Census Bureau Reports Nearly 1 in 3 Unmarried Women Who Give Birth Cohabit

Nov 10, 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that among the 1.5 million unmarried women who gave birth during the period between June 2007 and June 2008, about 425,000, or 28 percent, were living with a cohabitating partner. These unmarried mothers included those who were separated and those married with an absent spouse.

These findings are contained in Fertility of American Women: 2008, which reports that 4 million women age 15 to 44 gave birth during that time.

"The report shows that many unmarried new moms are not raising their child alone," said demographer Jane Dye, who authored the report. "This is actually the first time the Census Bureau has reported on births to women in cohabitational relationships. One of the report's data sources, the Current Population Survey, recently added a direct question on cohabitation in order to measure this population."

According to the report, by the time women reached the 40 to 44 age range in 2008, they had averaged 1.9 births in their lifetime, down from 3.1 births in 1976, when the Census Bureau first collected data on fertility. This reflects the decline in the likelihood of women having three or more children, as well as the increase in the proportion not having any at all.

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