Twenty-seven percent of births between 2003 and 2010 were to such couples — a threefold increase from 1985, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
“It’s thought that in births outside of marriage, one parent isn’t present. But our data is showing that a large proportion do have two parents, even though [they’re] not formally married,” said report author Gladys Martinez, a demographer in the CDC’s Division of Vital Statistics.
In addition, not only are many older women giving birth, but many also are having more then one child, she said.
“We know that women have been delaying childbirth,” Martinez said. “But there is also an increase in the number of older women who have more than one kid, and we would expect that to be even higher if we interviewed even older women.”
Martinez noted that women who delay having children tend to be better educated. Nearly 60 percent of women who did not complete high school had their first child as a teenager, compared with only 4 percent of women with a college degree.
The data in the report was gathered from more than 22,000 interviews done between 2006 and 2010 with men and women aged 15 to 44. The data was compared with similar data from 2002, according to the CDC.
“It’s surprising that so many unmarried couples are having children,” said Dr. Christine Mullin, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at the Center for Human Reproduction at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y.