First comes love, then comes marriage, and then comes baby in the baby carriage? Well, not anymore. At least not for most women under thirty years old – for the first time ever, “more than half of births to women under thirty occur outside of marriage.”
The rate of unmarried young mothers has been rising for the past fifty years; however, most unmarried moms under thirty were either in minority groups or lower income brackets. Now, more and more women in the middle class are choosing to skip the walk down the aisle.
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In fact, the fastest-growing group of unmarried, young mommas are women with some college education but no degree. Many unmarried mothers live with their partners; the reasons for not marrying vary – some women feel they don’t ‘have’ to marry their children’s father, they don’t qualify for certain government benefits if they marry, they earn enough money on their own and don’t need to rely on a partner, or their partner just isn’t ‘the one.’ Compared to married couples, cohabitating but unmarried parents are twice as likely to break up before the child is ten years old.
Overall, across all age brackets, the majority of mothers (59%) are married. College graduates under thirty are more likely to marry before the proverbial baby carriage. In fact, a whooping 92% of college graduates are married before having children, regardless of what age they give birth.