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More than 40 percent of all children in U.S. now born out of wedlock

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 1st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The birth rate in the U.S. hit an all-time low last year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of those births, 40.7 percent were born to mothers out of wedlock.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The 2011 preliminary number of U.S. births was 3,953,593, 1 percent less (or 45,793 fewer) births than in 2010; the general fertility rate (63.3 per 1,000 women age 15-44 years) declined to the lowest rate ever reported for the United States," the report stated.

It must be pointed out that while the overall birth rate declined to a record low, the birth rates for women in the 35-39 and 40-44 age groups actually increased from 2010 to 2011.

Among all women in the United States - which included those as young as 10 and as old as 54 - the birth rate declined from 64.1 per 100,000 in 2010 to 63.2 per 100,000 in 2011.

Among women 10 to 14 years old, it held steady at 0.4 per 100,000. Women from the ages of 15-19 years old, it declined from 34.2 to 31.3. Among women 20-24 years old, it declined from 90.0 to 85.3. Women 25-29, it declined from 108.3 to 107.2 and among women 30-34 years old, it held steady at 96.5.

Among women 35-39 years old, however, birth rates increased from 45.9 per 100,000 to 47.2. Among women 40-44, it increased from 10.2 to 10.3. And among women from 45-54, it held steady at 0.7 per 100,000.

In 2011, 1,606,087 babies were born to unmarried women and 2,347,506 were born to married women.

Going against popular assumption --while the percentage of babies born to unmarried women was highest among teens, the percentage of babies delivered by unmarried women of older ages increased from 2010 to 2011.

Single-parent families, or households without fathers, have been blamed for a variety of social ills.

According to the U.S. department of Health and Human Services, fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy and criminality.

In addition, teenagers living in single-parent households are more likely to abuse alcohol and at an earlier age compared to children reared in two-parent households. "The absence of the father in the home affects significantly the behavior of adolescents and results in the greater use of alcohol and marijuana," researcher Deane Scott Berman wrote in the 1995 study, "Risk Factors Leading to Adolescent Substance Abuse."

In addition, a study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents.

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