According to a new study by Child Trends, more than half of the births to American women under the age of 30 occur to non-married women. Historically, out-of-wedlock births used to pertain to mostly to minority and/or poor women, the study found that white women in their 20s are leading the trend.
While the overall amount of births of women of all ages occur to married women (59%), the growing numbers of children born to unmarried women could soon hint at a large cultural shift: marriage is no longer seen as that important.
The New York Times reports: Among mothers of all ages, a majority — 59 percent in 2009 — are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women — nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30 — is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.
One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.
Racial disparities for out-of-wedlock mothers still remain (73% of black children, 53% of Latinos and 29% of white children are born to unwed mothers), but the growing trend of non-marital births occur to couples who are living together. However, unlike in other countries where unmarried couples stay together for longer periods of time, here in the U.S. most couples who have children without being married break up before the child turns 10.
So, as a relatively young (under 35) man who was raised with two parents in the home and who is getting married in a few months, I ask you “independent” women out there: Is marriage important anymore?