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More Couples Are Having Babies Out of Wedlock Than Ever Before

First comes love, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.

According to health officials, 41% of all births in the US are to women who are not married.

And these are not necessarily single moms. A new report from the CDC reveals that there are more unmarried couples having kids than ever before: nearly 1 in 4 babies is born to unwed couples.

About 23% of births were to unmarried couples, living together when the child was born. This is up 14% since 2002.  We also learned this week that teen pregnancy has hit it’s lowest rate in 70 years.

Also of note in the report: the average age of the first time mom is 23, the average age of the first time father is 25, and the average number of children per woman is 2.1.

It’s incredible to see that marriage is just not the priority it once was. In Scandinavia most kids are born to unwed parents. 60% of first time babies in Denmark are born to unmarried couples. (But in Scandinavia, the circumstances are vastly different from the US. In Sweden, for example, every man, woman and child is supported by the state. The family is not as necessary for security. Sweden is also very secular country and the cultural background of socialism and feminism has led young couples to see marriage as a thing of the patriarchal past. ) Apparently this trend of unmarried parents is moving across Europe.

Of my friends with kids, most are married but some never saw the point. Come to think of it, these couples tend to have no financial incentive to marry– either due to personal circumstances of the country they live in. I find it quite romantic– they are sharing a home, kids and a life together without any legal binding arrangement. Plus they may get old together, but they’ll never be an old, married couple ;)

How important is marriage to you when it comes to having a family?

 

Photo Credit: Sugar Daze/Flickr

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