U.S. Fertility Trends Relatively Stable; Children Born To Unmarried Couples On The Rise

By admin
May 9, 2012

While many fertility trends have remained stable in the U.S. over the last decade, there is one that is bucking this trend: the number of first births among unmarried couples who were living together.

According to a new report by the National Survey of Family Growth, that figure has risen from 12% of first births in 2002 to 22% between 2006 and 2010 among women ages 15-44.

However, as for the ages of first-time parents in America, not much has changed. The average age for a woman to give birth to her first child is 23, while for men the number was slightly higher at around age 25.

The report, based on fertility estimates of nearly 10,500 men and almost 13,000 women in the U.S. ages 15 to 44 over a four-year period, also found that one-half of women's first birth took place in their 20s, and two-thirds of first births were fathered by men who were also in their 20s.

There were also differences among ethnic groups in terms of the timing of a firstborn child. According to researchers, by age 20, an estimated 32% of African American women and 30% of Hispanic women had given birth, while only 5% of Asian women and 14% of white women had done so.

Regardless of ethnicity, by age 40, 85% of women had typically given birth, and 76% of men had fathered a child. The study also found that by the time an American women reaches her early 40s, she typically has two kids.

While some women delayed childbearing until they were slightly older, others remained childless. The survey estimated that 43% of women ages 15-44 had no children either because they had decided not to, were unable to become pregnant, or were planning to have them later in life.

The researchers also found that women who were married and women who were college-educated were more likely to have a first birth at age 30 or older, compared with women who were not married or those with less education. And both men and women with lower levels of education were more likely to have more children and at earlier ages than those who attended college.

[image via Getty]

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