First Comes the Baby Carriage

Chuck Donovan /

The National Survey of Family Growth has just released new results for the years 2006-08 and the findings about teens’ attitudes toward marriage and childbearing are bracing. Reaching a new high, the NSFG found that the percentage of teenage males who agree or strongly agree with the statement, “It is OK for an unmarried female to have a child,” has risen from 50 percent to 64 percent since 2002. The percentage of teenage girls agreeing with the statement was even higher, nearly 71 percent.

While attitudes and actions are not perfectly congruent, especially in the area of decisions about sex and marriage, the increase in acceptance of unmarried childbearing tracks with the national data released earlier this year that found a record number – nearly 41 percent – of U.S. births in 2008 were out-of-wedlock. Much of the media reported that non-marital birth story as a positive one because the number of teen births was down. But marital status is the key indicator of the present and future well-being of families, as well as of the cyclical prospects for reducing out-of-wedlock sex, pregnancy, abortions and births in the future. (more…)