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Fertility and Marriage Declines Continue

November 29, 2011


[NOTE: The below report has been updated to fully include all the new information available in the 2010 Preliminary Birth Data report.]


The National Center for Health Statistics has released the Final Birth Data for 2009 and the Preliminary Birth Data for 2010. The pattern of “risk aversion” presumably in response to the economic crisis is continuing. The ratio of births out-of-wedlock grew slowly from 2007 to 2010 but during this period fertility and the proportion of women of reproductive age who were married fell sharply. “Risk Aversion” can explain the decline in fertility among both married and unmarried women as well as a reluctance to get married which might explain the proportion of women who are married accelerating its long standing decline.

Since 2007, the United States has seen a sharp fall in its fertility rate. Looking specifically at the white population in the United States in 1940, during the Great Depression just after World War II started, the white Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was 2.229 children per woman. This rate then grew steadily reaching a peak in 1957 at the height of the Baby Boom with a white TFR of 3.625. After 1957 the fertility rate then fell steadily, plumbing the depths with a rate of 1.652 children per woman in 1976, the absolute low-point of white fertility up to this time. After 1976, white fertility slowly but persistently crept upwards reaching a high of 1.908 children per woman in 2007. In the three years since 2007, however, the white fertility rate has dropped sharply hitting a TFR of 1.791 in 2010; the lowest fertility rate since 1997.

In the past three years, from 2007 to 2010, the white TFR has fallen by 6%; for blacks it has fallen by 8% and for Hispanics it has fallen by an amazing 17%. In 2010 the Hispanic TFR rate was only 12% above replacement level. If the Total Fertility Rate among Hispanics falls as quickly from 2010 to 2012 as it did from 2008 to 2010 then in 2012 the Hispanic TFR will be 2.05, below replacement level. Read More »


The Matriarchal Society

August 17, 2010


AS PART of the ongoing series of entries here on the decline of marriage and fatherlessness, Jesse Powell reports below on the final 2007 figures for out-of-wedlock births. These numbers are stark evidence of the ongoing shift to a matriarchal society. Three years ago, illegitimacy rates were close to 30 percent for whites, 50 percent for Hispanics and 70 percent for blacks. These rates are higher now.

Jesse Powell writes:

The Final Birth Data for 2007 has just come out, so it’s time for an update on what the out-of-wedlock birth statistics are telling us.  Read More »


Baby and Me

May 27, 2010


IN AN INTERVIEW in the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Bristol Palin makes single motherhood look great. A baby is extra work, but doesn’t interfere with a woman’s independence. A few decades ago, popular culture celebrated the single young career girl, the Mary Tyler Moore or Marlo Thomas who got her own apartment presumably before getting married and settling down. Now that popular figure has a baby too. Bristol Palin is inspirational, not for abstinence but for the single woman who wants, or is compelled, to raise her baby herself.

Elisa Lipsky-Karasz writes:

… Bristol is hardly unhappy, despite her hectic schedule and lack of sleep. “I love my baby more than anything,” she says, which is obvious from the cuddles he gets. “He’s like a Gerber baby. He’s the cutest baby in the whole world.” Read More »


Illegitimacy, Class and an Anti-Child Culture

April 23, 2010


IN THIS PREVIOUS ENTRY, Jesse Powell and I discussed the differences in illegitimacy rates and family stability along class lines, looking at the widely held view that because the college-educated and affluent suffer relatively low rates of out-of-wedlock births, they are not seeing serious levels of family breakdown. We continue our discussion here. Read More »


The Amazing Statistics Behind Teen Births

April 16, 2010



I’ve been digging around in the statistics on the National Center for Health Statistics site, more specifically in their National Vital Statistics Reports area, and I found a goldmine of information on teenage births that I never knew before. Read More »


The Illegitimacy Catastrophe

April 13, 2010


ROBERT RECTOR has a good article at National Review on the statistics discussed here last week showing  an illegitimacy rate of more than 40 percent for the first time in U.S. history. He writes:

The steady growth of childbearing by single women and the general collapse of marriage, especially among the poor, lie at the heart of the mushrooming welfare state. This year, taxpayers will spend over $300 billion providing means-tested welfare aid to single parents. The average single mother receives nearly three dollars in government benefits for each dollar she pays in taxes.

… If poor single mothers were married to the fathers of their children, two-thirds of them would not be poor.

Read More »


Births to Unmarried Mothers Exceed 40 Percent; White Fertility Low

April 6, 2010



The federal government has released the preliminary birth data for 2008. For the first time the out-of-wedlock birth ratio is over 40 percent in the United States, at 40.6. For non-Hispanic whites the ratio is at 28.6 percent; for Hispanics (who may be of any race) it is 52.5 percent. For non-Hispanic blacks it is at 72.3 percent.

Of special note, the black out-of-wedlock birth ratio stayed about the same for 10 whole years, from 1995 until 2005 at about 70 percent (in 1995 it was 69.9 and in 2005 it was 69.3.) One would have hoped that this ratio had hit some kind of natural ceiling and that it couldn’t go any higher. Perhaps that was the end point of family breakdown and human resiliency meant it couldn’t continue to climb. Sadly, that is not the case. The black out-of-wedlock birth ratio has risen steadily and quickly for three years in a row. In 2005, the non-Hispanic black out-of-wedlock birth ratio was 69.9. In 2006, it was 70.7. In 2007, it was 71.6 and in 2008, 72.3 percent.  Read More »

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