Three Decades of Nonmarital First Births Among Fathers Aged 15–44 in the United States

Nonmarital childbearing in the United States increased from the 1940s to the 1990s, peaked in 2007–2008, and declined in 2013. In 2013, the nonmarital birth rate was 44.8 births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15–44.

Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), a new NCHS report examines nonmarital first births reported by fathers aged 15–44. This report presents trends in nonmarital first births by father’s age at birth and Hispanic origin and race. Given increases in births occurring in cohabiting unions, first births within cohabitation are also examined.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • The percentage of fathers aged 15–44 whose first births were nonmarital was lower in the 2000s (36%) than in the previous 2 decades.
  • Fathers with first births in the 2000s were more likely to be in a nonmarital cohabiting union (24%) than those in the 1980s (19%).
  • The percentage of fathers with a nonmarital first birth over the past 3 decades has remained similar for Hispanic and non-Hispanic white men, but has declined for non-Hispanic black men (1980s, 77%; 2000s, 66%).
  • Fathers with nonmarital first births in the 2000s were less likely to be non-Hispanic black men (21%) than Hispanic (33%) or non-Hispanic white (39%) men.
  • Fathers with nonmarital first births in the 2000s were more likely to be older at the time of the birth (33%) than those in the previous 2 decades.

 

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