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The Offense Formerly Known As “Living In Sin”

NY Times: For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage

While the "war over marriage" takes place, the real battle seems to be elsewhere ...

It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.


Large racial differences remain: 73 percent of black children are born outside marriage, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites. And educational differences are growing. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends.

Almost all of the rise in nonmarital births has occurred among couples living together. While in some countries such relationships endure at rates that resemble marriages, in the United States they are more than twice as likely to dissolve than marriages.

Surprisingly, this isn't much of an issue you hear about in political terms these days. Easier to scapegoat, I suppose.

I've sifted through Charles Murray's latest book and remain as unimpressed as I was when he co-authored "The Bell Curve." The standard issue vilification (and even mis-characterization) of his main thesis isn't as remarkable as is the ease at which he tends to misstate causality with symptoms. He definitely picks an interesting field to cover. Its just that, regardless of his politics, its a shame he's not a better social scientist.

And reasons such as the one covered here are part and parcel of what's intriguing about the subject matter. I've not yet read the Child Trends report referenced in the article. But, naturally, I'm curious to see how much of the increase in out-of-wedlock births are a function of changing demographics for the under-30 set and how much is due to increasing rates within demographic groups. But hey ... that's me for ya.

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  1. I’m all for whatever shaped family a person wishes to have.

    However, knowing that MANY of those pregnancies aren’t planned, I wonder how much of those race differences are related to access to health care/contraception/abortion options.

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