“For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside of Marriage”
is an article published by the New York Times earlier this year. This article discusses the rise of unwed couples having children in the last 50 years and presents a surprising statistic: today, more than half of the women under 30 who give birth are not married.
Why is this happening? Is marriage going out of style? Some argue that the state of the economy is playing a key role in this shift.
Many people are out of work, and planning a wedding involves time and money, which are difficult to procure if a person is without a job. Because these couples choose to live and sleep together anyway, sometimes a baby may come as an unexpected surprise. Others argue that because it is becoming so common for unwed couples to live together, the pressure to get married when a child comes along is no longer applies, as modern society no longer frowns upon unwed parents as much as it has in previous generations.
The article notes that a woman’s level of education plays a large role in whether or not she is married when she gives birth to children. In 2009, 51% of births among white women ages 20-30 with no college degree were outside of marriage, while 34% of births among white women with some college experience occurred outside of marriage, and only 8% of white women who completed a college degree had a child outside of marriage. Additionally, the article presents research showing that 2/3 of unmarried couples who have children together split up before the child turns 10.
What does this mean for family structure and values in the future? Since many children are being born out of wedlock, where the parents are much more likely to not end up staying together, there will ultimately be a rise in the number of “broken” homes in the United States. What effects will that have on the children? As the article states, research has consistently shown that children born outside of marriage are more likely to fail out of school and fall into poverty than their peers who were born to married parents.
Although I personally support the idea of a two people getting married and working as partners to help raise their children in a loving, safe environment, I understand that times are changing and that family structure is altering due to the economy, a change in society’s standards, and a number of other factors. Regardless of their marital status or living situation, it is my hope that all parents remember to always make the needs of their children their first priority and to think about how each decision they make will ultimately impact their children.
What do you think is playing the largest role in our society’s shift away from marriage? In your opinion, what is the purpose of marriage?