Census Report Examines Cohabitation
Special Report - November 9, 2010
New data released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 28 percent of the out-of-wedlock births that took place between June 2007 and June 2008 were to women in cohabiting relationships. The report, Fertility of American Women: 2008, is released every two years, and uses data from two primary sourcesthe June 2008 Supplement to the Current Population Reports and the 2008 American Community Survey. This year is the first time the Census Bureau has reported on births to women in cohabiting relationships based on a question about cohabitation that was recently added to the Bureau’s Current Population Reports.
“The report shows that many unmarried new moms are not raising their child alone,” said Census Bureau demographer and author of the report, Jane Dye, in a press release. “This is actually the first time the Census Bureau has reported on births to women in cohabitational relationships.”
According to the report, just over four million women between the ages of 15 and 44 gave birth between June 2007 and June 2008, and 63.4 percent of these mothers were married. About 1.5 million (or 38 percent) of the four million births were to women who were not married, who were separated (either legally separated or separated because of marital discord), or who were married but living absent from their spouse, such as those whose spouse was in the armed forces. Of those 1.5 million women, 28 percent (or about 425,000) were cohabiting at the time of their child’s birth. The report notes that the birth rate for unmarried women is continuing to increase and explains that, “one contributing factor is that many people are choosing to live together either as a trial marriage or as a precursor for marriage, even after the birth of a child, and postpone marriage until they are more financially secure.”
Other key findings from the report include:
- Among women ages 40 to 44, 18 percent were childless at the time of the report. This is a two percent decline from the 20 percent who were childless in 2006.
- The majority of women with recent births (or 61 percent) were in the labor force, up from 57 percent in 2006.
- About one in four mothers who had recently given birth in 2008 were living at or below poverty level, but only about six percent were receiving government assistance.
- The peak childbearing age for women in 2008 was between the ages of 25 to 29.
- In 2008, women between the ages of 40 and 44 had an average of 1.9 children, compared to an average of 3.1 children for women in this age group in 1976. The report notes: “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.”
Most Children Live With Parents - July 27, 2010
Characteristics of Cohabiting Adults Studied - July 16, 2009
Report Analyzes Cohabitation Effects - June 23, 2008
How Cohabitation Undermines Marriage and the Family - Findings - June 2005
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