Monday, October 31, 2005

SHOCK HORROR! Births to unmarried women hit record (in the US)

The US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released a report last Friday (on 28 October 2005) on Preliminary Birth Data for 2004.

According to NCHS data:
Childbearing by unmarried women reached a record high of almost 1.5 million births in 2004, up 4 percent from 2003. More than 4 in 5 births to teenagers were among unmarried teens. Over half of births to women in their early twenties and nearly 3 in 10 births to women aged 25-29 years were to unmarried women. The birth rate among unmarried women of all ages increased 3 percent from 2003 to 2004. In 2004, 35.7 percent of all births were to unmarried women.

This was reported widely by the US media. USA TODAY reported that:
"There's been a sea change in terms of expectations around marriage and babies," says Dorian Solot, co-founder of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, an advocacy organization for the unmarried.

Solot says unmarried mothers present very different scenarios for their children, depending upon whether they are the single, professional parent-by-choice, a cohabiting couple, or a poor woman living alone.

Sara S. McLanahan, a sociology professor at Princeton University and director of the Center for Research on Child Well-Being, says most often unwed mothers are disadvantaged with a high school degree or less education. She worries about the children in such relationships, which tend to be less stable and create more complex families.

"These are relatively unstable relationships, even among older mothers," she says.

"It's really unfair to children," says David Popenoe, a sociology professor at Rutgers University who has studied the effects of marriage and cohabitation on children. He co-directs the National Marriage Project at Rutgers.

"One thing you don't know from these data is whether the births are to lone women or to a cohabiting women," he says.

Studies have shown cohabitating relationships are less stable and about half break up within five years. But cohabiting couples are more likely to provide a healthier environment for children than a single woman alone, the experts say.

Between the NCHS and media reports such as that by USA TODAY I thought they were talking about 1964 not 2004!

If there is an award for government statistics and media reporting that is so laden with moral judgement, this one takes the prize.

These statistics did not take into account defacto relationships, divorce rates, the capacity of married mothers to take care of their child financially etc. What about child abuse? In which households does this occur?

Just because a mother is married when she had a child does not mean she will remain married.

What about lesbian relationships where the women do not have a legal right to marry, but the environment is loving and stable? We love these couples as they also love cats (a stereotype, but usually true)!

With the amount of multiple serial marriages happening (look at the rich and famous who set such good examples), affairs outside of marriages, etc - marriage for the sake of having babies is not what it is cracked up to be.

On a positive note, we give a commendation to the San Francisco Chronicle for just reporting the (somewhat skewed) facts without bias.

*As always, please check out Cooper and Camilla who always have interesting things to say.


After the weekend, I did not enjoy this morning. After my breakfast of part chicken wing and tidbits of ham, I sat on my couch, then went to my daybed. I wish my human could stay home with me all the time, all day every day.

Numb3rs isn't on TV tonight, but I hope I still get my brush. The gloves are back too, I saw it.


Blogger Kelly said...

cute cat...

Monday, 31 October, 2005  
Blogger Keiser said...

thank you. i'm not just a pretty face.

Monday, 31 October, 2005  
Anonymous Camilla said...

I ADORE your blog. I must say that your entries are always thought provoking. It's nice to have smart blogs out there!!!



Tuesday, 01 November, 2005  
Blogger Keiser said...

I hope everybody reading this also checks out Camilla's blog on Catster (see my *notes in every blog entry). She is also one smart kitty.

Tuesday, 01 November, 2005  

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