From Hispanic Magazine, June/July 2009, “The New Mommy”
A record number of unmarried women in the United States are having babies, and the rate is highest among Hispanic women, according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics. Nearly four in 10 births in the U.S. were to unmarried women in 2007, an increase of 26 percent from 2002. In raw numbers, that means about 1.7 million children were born to unwed mothers in 2007, compared to 1.26 million in 2002 and fewer than 400,000 in 1970.
The report showed there were 106 births to every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women, compared to 32 births per 1,000 white non-Hispanic women. The lowest proportion of unmarried births was to Asian women, while blacks fell in the middle, with 72 births per 1,000 women.
With the stigma of unwed motherhood clearly on the decline, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, deputy director of the National Latina Health Institute, noted it is important not to present single motherhood as a problem. “Women have the right to have children whenever they think this is appropriate for their unique, individual circumstances, whether they’re married or not,” Gonzalez-Rojas says. Most critical is “to have social systems in place that support their decision.”