- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
Single mothers have 48% of first births
‘Knot Yet’ study discovers trend
The playground rhyme about “first comes love, then comes marriage, and then comes the baby in the baby carriage” no longer applies to most young Americans — unless they earn a college degree, says a new study.
Some 48 percent of first births in America are now to unmarried women.
This means “the nation is at a tipping point, on the verge of moving into a new demographic reality, where the majority of first births in the United States precede marriage,” said the study, “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America,” released by several organizations including the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.
This emerging trend is alarming, as social scientists have long linked unwed childbearing with poverty, family instability, school failure, substance abuse and mental-health problems.
But bringing marriage and childbearing “back into sync” will not an easy task, study co-author Kay Hymowitz, who joined other family and economic policy scholars Wednesday at a Brookings Institution event.
“Of course, we also recognize that marriage is not for everyone, and that not all parents can or should get married,” Ms. Hymowitz wrote in the report.
But when 20-somethings are in a good relationship, they may want to “marry earlier than today’s social norms suggest,” and other 20-somethings may want to postpone parenthood “until they are in a relationship with someone whom they would choose as a good partner for life.”
Other sponsors of the “Knot Yet” study are the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and the Relate Institute. Study co-authors include W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project; Jason S. Carroll, associate professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University and senior fellow at Relate Institute; and Kelleen Kaye, director of research at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
The new report examines economic, cultural and social reasons fueling the “baby first, marriage later” shift for many young Americans. But one aspect is clear: Education is a major factor in this issue of marriage and childbearing.
Women who are high-school dropouts, for instance, typically have their first children around age 20 and marry around age 25, said the study, citing data from 1970 to 2010 or 2011.
Women who finished high school — but not college — typically have their first child around age 24 and marry around age 26.
In contrast, young women who finish college tend to follow the script in the playground rhyme and typically marry by age 27 and have their first child around age 30.
The new study concludes with core questions about how to change educational and economic policies, family policies and the America’s “relationship culture” — including Hollywood’s focus on the romantic antics of young singles — to reconnect marriage and childbearing.
The U.S. teen birthrate has fallen to historical lows, thanks to “the right messages and programs,” the study added. “Now it’s time to extend that record of success to twenty-something women and men.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Stricter standards force abortion clinics to close; pro-lifers cheer shrinking numbers
- Public accommodations provision in Md. transgender rights bill draws outcry
- German home-school family can stay in U.S. indefinitely
- U.S. Supreme Court declines German home-school case
- Medical facility 'buffer-zone' law in court
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again