More cohabitating couples having children
April 12th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

More cohabitating couples having children

After publishing a report Tuesday on the record low teen birth rate, the National Center for Health Statistics is releasing more numbers on babies in America.

Gladys Martinez and her colleagues at the NCHS have written a report on the fertility of men and women aged 15 to 44 in the U.S. based on numbers from the National Survey of Family Growth that was taken between 2006 and 2010. The survey collected data from more than 22,000 face-to-face interviews.

A few interesting tidbits emerged from the report. The NCHS survey found that a greater proportion of births to unmarried couples are happening in households with cohabitating partners than in years past.

We know that the number of children born to unmarried couples has increased dramatically over the last several decades. In 2009, 41% of all babies born were to unmarried women compared to 11% in 1970. Approximately one-fourth of women aged 15 to 44 between 2006 and 2010 had a baby before their first marriage; an additional 5.2% had a baby within 7 months of the wedding.

But between 2006 and 2010, cohabitating couples accounted for 22% of first births, up from 12% in 2002. Of all pre-marital births, nearly half were to cohabitating couples.

"The primary reason that we even look at that is because studies have shown that there’s differences in the resources available to children born in families with only one parent," Martinez said. Children born to unmarried mothers statistically have less stability and therefore, more environmental stressors in their lives.

The survey was also, for the first time, able to distinguish between foreign-born Hispanics and U.S.-born Hispanics. For instance, 78% of foreign-born Hispanic women surveyed had a biological child compared with 51% of U.S.-born Hispanic women.

"In general, U.S.-born Hispanics look [more] like non-Hispanic whites than other groups," Martinez said.

Most of the rest of the statistics remain similar to those reported in 2002, according to Martinez. The mean age of women having their first child is 23 years old; the mean age for men is 25. On average, women in America have 2.1 children. White women are less likely to have children and are less likely to expect to have children than other races.

Higher-education women and men waited longer in life to have children and on average had fewer. Women with household incomes lower than 150% of the poverty level were more likely to have four or more children.

Martinez also found an increase in the number of women who started having children after the age of 35 who went on to have two or more kids. Unfortunately her team couldn't really see the full expanse of the increase because they only surveyed women under 44 years old.

The statistics in this report were weighted to reflect the 124 million men and women in the U.S. The data was self-reported so results may be subjected to some "recall error," where the person being surveyed makes mistakes about their past experiences.

soundoff (283 Responses)
  1. wassup

    Guess why these poor families are poppin' out kids...cuz we're payin' fer' 'em! Hate to say it, but our immigrants from south of the border are doin' the same dance! Betcha if they were liable for the costs of bearing young, this trend would come to a halt.

    April 12, 2012 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • McBain04

      Untrue. Data from before the "Great Society" and data from countries that participate in such programs are contrary to your claim. Poor people have more kids. It is a fact since society became more stratified and we moved to horticulture and agriculture around 8 or 9,000 BCE. The lower on the rank you are, the more kids you tend to have. The higher social rank you have; the fewer kids you tend to have. Education also plays a major role.

      April 12, 2012 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • flacajd

      Totally agree. So they can collect that check each month. I see it all the time.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:24 | Report abuse |
    • Ponter B

      I also seem to recall reading that the economically poor tended to have more kids because of low fetile survival rates. If you really look at the generation charts and medical technology, even people in the US are only about three generations removed from this type of thinking so it's possible for many of us to still have been exposed to this type procreate alot to ensure the genes get passed on mentallity in our development. So I think many poor people today may unconciously have a lot of kids because of this pass the gene mentality. That's why proper biological education and access to affordable birth control is so important. This is what I never understood about the GOP. You don't want abortions and you don't want to pay for welfare, but when we try to teach proper sex education or wish to provide affordable birth control to everyone, you go ape crap. Isn't it more cost effective to to educate people about sex and cover their birth control rather than paying for the six kids they'll have with out it.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
    • Richard Miller

      White teenagers in my area are the ones having the kids. Some as young as 12. Medicaid pays for everything for these children. Time to put the stops on "free" babies that usually end up becoming the same type of person the mother was-welfare and babies-why work? The taxpayer may be the responsible to care for the first "unwanted" pregnancy but after that, if you want to be a welfare queen and pop 'em out just to get more money so you can lay around on your fat butt, then you pay for the rest of them. If you can afford smokes and $8.00 cups of coffee, you can pay for your own kids.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I would like to see mandatory sterilization after your first child... for *everybody*. There is zero need for people to be having multiple babies. It is selfish and it is uncaring about the planet we all share. And if other countries don't want to buy into this, drop a bi-annual nuke on them to make up for it.

      We need to get the world's population down to about 1 million again. Let this earth heal and rejuvenate. If we reduce births to one per female, each generation will halve or more until we get back down to that number. Humans are a cancer, a virus. Go look at maps that show urban growth over a period of 20 years... it looks just like the spread of cancer and is sickening to see.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
    • headline4edu

      Joe hug a tree man. Removing the right to propagate won't instill responsibility. Also if you want 1 million people you're welcome to off yourself for the sake of the planet anytime you wish. But that that could be debated as irresponsible...

      As for the one child rule, that's too low. I'd say 2 is perfect, and I'd personally never want more than that.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • shawn Tippie

      Wrong, they would have the children regardless of the social system. Think there are safety nets in Africa where they have kids by the dozens? More likely the safety net has allowed many children to survive allowing the next generation to follow the same path. Our eugenics system here in the USA ended in 1979. Our new passive eugenics strategy like the drug war, denial of justice to the poor and arrest for every minor offense and jail for 20 years is not as successful as the mass castration programs of the past.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      @richard miller: re: "White teenagers in my area are the ones having the kids." Just for my curiousity, what color are the babies these white girls are having? Also, can you say where you are from? big city or state?

      April 12, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Clint

      Joe, you should take some time to read and think before espousing eugenics and mandatory sterilization. American birth rates hover only slight above the replacement rate. You cut it to one child and in a few decades we have an economic meltdown as healthcare is strained and again in another 10-20 year afterwards when housing markets collapse from oversupply.

      If you're going so far into social engineering as to start talking eugenics, at least stop to think about what you're saying.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • mthome

      @ teresa – 'what color are the babies'?! Why don't you just come out and suggest it's black people's fault for intermixing with little white girls? Racist much? FYI, for the most recent census, and all prior to that, you immigrant bashers do realize WHITE people are the largest by far race currently on welfare – more than any other. I mean, come on. You make white people like me look bad.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      would nt be surprised f wassup's grandpa was from Germany!

      April 12, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      @ LOL – you know, your probably right. To be honest, I guess I'm not even sure what marriage really is - all I know is that when a man and woman fall in love, they're supposed to get married. But why? You know? I don't think anyone has truly taught our generation as to why, other than 'to prove your love for one another'. Sad, isn't it?

      April 12, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  2. Truth

    Looks like more and more men are smartening up and refusing marriage. Can't blame them.

    April 12, 2012 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trav

      yep..avoiding responsibilty

      April 12, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse |
    • trav-isty

      Trav, we'll check back in on your ignorance after you are stroking alimony checks.

      April 12, 2012 at 08:41 | Report abuse |
    • dancingjelly

      and why is it so many men are divorced? because they are irresponsible and generally have done something so terrible their wives leave them. can you say, "keep it in your pants if you don't want to pay alimony?"

      April 12, 2012 at 09:10 | Report abuse |
    • Numismatist

      Dancing....goes both ways. Women cheat too. But, you would not know that because you are ignorant

      April 12, 2012 at 09:25 | Report abuse |
    • uaskigyrl

      Hey man, I'm a very successful woman and on average make more than any of the men I meet. I'm not marrying because there is no way in HELL some guy is going to get alimony from me! HAHAHA!

      April 12, 2012 at 09:49 | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      @Truth: men are smartening up huh? why arent they wearing condoms ALL THE TIME? You act like men are such prizes to be chained to. Men are basically overgrown children, who still have mommy/ wife/ woman doing all their chit work and they get the perk too of bedding these women. Ya, men are smartening up.... ; )

      April 12, 2012 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      I refuse marriage only because I don't need a piece of paper to prove my love to my man. An engagement ring is good enough. We've already got a house together under both names, a baby on the way, and a lot of other things in both our names; why is it necessary to be married, too? Why can't we just enjoy ourselves for who we are, instead of being forced to marry because society wants us to? Just because your not married, doesn't mean your going to leave each other. (Besides, after owning so much together, it'd be stupid to leave anyway lol).

      April 12, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • worktolive

      I agree-men are very negative on marriage more so than having children. They feel child support is fair but alimony is a joke and totally unfair. I agree. People don't get divorced to support an ex spouse the rest of their lives. And women seem to be able to get out of alimony – men seldom do even when women make more money than the man. What's wrong with this picture.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • M.E.

      That's the thinking of a spoiled little boy. My fiancee is a MAN with enough dignity and love to WANT to get married. And thank you very much but neither of us are cheaters.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • Anquan

      Truth us right. Why should a man get married today? Women keep writing books that advocate abuse and domination of the husband. I read this and puked
      Marriage? Not ME!!

      April 12, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      Actually, it is women "smarting up". It used to be, not so long ago, a woman was expected to get married.....now, with better education, more chance of job fulfillment and often better paychecks than the man in her life.....she has choices. The leading cause of divorce is marriage. If one doesn't believe in divorce, or doesn't want to ever go through a divorce.....one just doesn't get married. With cohabitation, shared expenses like buying a house together, is already spelled out legally....no fighting in court.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • rhobere

      Wait M.E. Are you telling me you aren't married and neither of you cheat on eachother? So if THAT is possible, then doesn't it seem like maybe you don't need a ceremony to continue not cheating on eachother? It doesn't take a spoiled boy to realize that he can commit to someone without the church's blessings. Congrats on your engagement, but not everybody needs the symbolism to love eachother.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • LOL

      To Sarah...uhhhhh....I hope you never wake up and smell the coffee becasue it means you will then know the answers to your questions. To be young, in love, tangled with another unfettered and untethered ...time has a way of changing the world as we know it. There is a power in public proclamation that whispered secerets do not quaite have. For me, that piece of paper was my commitment that on the days that life looks old and worn and the uncontrollable love that I once could not contain has left for something else...on those days when time has greyed our hair and sagged our skin and others carry the youth we wish we still had, on those days when love is a memory, I will choose to be in love even whe I do not feel it because I promised to do that not only when things were good but when they were bad. That paper reminds me that I promised I would make that choice and I am happy I have over and over and over again because what I once thought was love was not and what I never understood love to be has replaced it and is so much better. That works for me...may your fortune be as good as mine. 🙂

      April 12, 2012 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • rhobere

      @LOL- you shouldn't love someone just because you signed a piece of paper saying you did. You should love someone because you love someone. the fact that you are actually proud and seemingly happy that the only thing keeping you with someone you don't love anymore is your honor is nothing short of sad. good on ya mate.

      April 12, 2012 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
  3. ChrisCintheD

    "Higher-education women and men waited longer in life to have children and on average had fewer. Women with household incomes lower than 150% of the poverty level were more likely to have four or more children."

    Ahhh, just like in "Idiocracy". It is a confounding dynamic. Those that know better will wait to have kids until they can properly care for them while those that don't give a hoot will pop out kids like Pez.

    April 12, 2012 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jenn

      I figure we are about 50% on our way to being the "living reality of the Idiocracy movie". Proof: Spelling is gone and god forbid you admit to education them on the correct way. Fine.. keep spelling Defence, Sence, Rediciluious or continue to use the phrase "could care less" when they meet I "couldn't careless". Someone told me yesterday that they are purposely spelling/using the phrase this way because it's "commonly accepted social uses and conformity" and I should as well. Yes, I was advised to "dumb down" for the stake of social conformity. I advised that person that they should never dumb down for society, society needs to step up and meet the higher standards put forth. However, after reading this article I fear you are right.. Idiocracy is right around the corner. God help us all..

      April 12, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • NC

      I agree with you totally!!

      April 12, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
  4. badPic

    Interesting that they used a picture of a couple with wedding rings on for a story on birth rates for cohabitating couples...

    April 12, 2012 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DK

      Good catch! Hey, maybe he's married!

      April 12, 2012 at 08:41 | Report abuse |
    • inyourhead00

      I know of couples who are not married and are just cohabitating, but wear rings because that's their idea of being married, and they actually refer to each other as husband and wife. It's THE weirdest thing ever.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  5. shamdog

    Look back in history. Peasants (i.e. the lower income families) always had lots of kids. Why? Not all of them would survive, and "social security" back then was to have kids around to take care of you when you're old and unable to fend for yourselves. Now only the wealthy have the right to reproduce? How about mandatory sterilization until you reach a threshold income and pass a political exam?

    April 12, 2012 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • McBain04

      My, My... that sounds a lot like facism to me.

      April 12, 2012 at 08:42 | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      Mandatory sterilization until you meet a threshold income.... Hmmmm, generally if you are sterilized you can't have kids, so striving to reach a threshold income becomes moot. If you're sterilized, why strive to better yourself, you can just stay an uneducated idiot and collect State Aid.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
    • drinker75

      People didn't usually live to a ripe old age either, especially the peasants.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  6. trav

    most people dont want committment or responsibility, They dont want God's laws on marriage for they do what they want. That is why this nation is ruined...

    April 12, 2012 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oz in OK

      So why don't you 'Christians' push for a ban on divorce? Oh yeah, too many of you 'Christians' actually like having that right so it would never pass.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
    • JIm

      God is fake, get over it.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse |
  7. Rich

    "78% of foreign-born Hispanic women surveyed had a biological child"

    They're called anchor babies, and they lower the chances of the mother getting deported.

    Los Angeles is full of them.

    April 12, 2012 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dancingjelly

      possibly, but it is also cultural for hispanics to have large families

      April 12, 2012 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      1. They are American citizens, not anchor babies. Our great nation does not have tiers on its citizen. If you are a citizen you are a citizen, and anyone thinking less needs to find a country that thinks more like them. Not America.

      2. The statistics did not say the citizenship of the children of the 78% so you cannot draw a conclusion that all were born in the United States from the data.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
  8. Rich

    Not committed enough to get married...

    But committed enough to have a baby?

    April 12, 2012 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dancingjelly

      marriage is a legal and religious construct and has no bearing on the commitment two people have for each other or to their child.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
    • LockandKey

      Dancingjelly I agree with you 100%.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • flacajd

      Well if you look at it this way, marriage is a bond between 2 people and God, not 2 people and the state or government just so they can get taxed more. I thought there was suppose to be a separation of state/God. Not to mention that not claiming married, but claiming head of household and a child gets you more $ at the end of the year than filing together as married. So does the state have to recognize the couple as married in order for them to truly be married to one another? Just another way society has twisted the sanctimony of our households.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      @ dancingjelly,
      Child support is also a binding legal contract. They don't care if one is married or not, they only care about paternity. Yet so many seem to be angry that they have to support THEIR children if they aren't with the other parent anymore,as if it is no longer their child, yet say they "love" their children.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      Isn't that hilarious Rich?

      April 12, 2012 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      it's separation of Church and State not State and God, there is a difference. The United States does not recognize any one particular religion. You have the choice\freedom of which religion you want to practice or not.
      And depending on the State unmaried couples that have been together for a period of tie are recognized as Common Law married. So if they are to split up there would be a division of assets. alimony, child support, etc.
      Unless they step up and take responsibility, single unmarried men often have little to no right to their children.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      if marriage is to be between two people and god, get it's licensing out of the hands of government

      April 12, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • dancingjelly

      @Kay...don't get me started on that! So many feel they don't have to pay if they don't get to see them every day. It is a shame and makes the children feel awful!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • dancingjelly

      Thanks LockandKey...

      April 12, 2012 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Well, they are two different things. Why the surprise?

      April 12, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • sortakinda

      Me want what ME get. Me get what ME want. It's all about ME, isn't it?

      April 12, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • blaqb0x

      I bet I could get married in less than 24 hours. Vegas Baby!

      April 12, 2012 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
  9. sortakinda

    Ironically, it is the children who are called b@st@rds.

    April 12, 2012 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Adam

    Most of them are Catholics meaning none or spoaradic birth control. They also believe in large families but the society is so male dominated that the women dont demand marriage first and the men skirt the responsibility.

    April 12, 2012 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Flowers

      Low and behold, a large number of Catholics in this country like me, use birth control and are married. My husband and I have only one child right now even though we can easily afford to have another one, because we've chosen to devote all of our energy and attention to the child we chose to bring into this world. There's many other American Catholics like us. It's called being responsible and we like to assume that that's what God would have wanted.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • sortakinda

      In reply to Adam-They can't be very good Catholics if they are cohabiting without benefit of a sacramental marriage. They don't use birth control because they're Catholic but aren't married? That's an oxymoron. Like I don't rob banks on Sunday, because that's the Lord's Day.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
  11. Sam

    As a single mother the more kids that they have, the more the help they get from the government. Plus they both work so they have more money. It is a convenience for them not being married. Another one is that the Head of house hold gets more money at tax time. Smart but we end up paying.

    April 12, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lupe

      You are right Sam. Time to reform welfare.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      Welfare has already been reformed, many times. I can't speak for all states, but the amount you get now is not a lot and in some places it is cut off after a certain point no matter how many children.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  12. Dood

    And so continues the decline of society.

    April 12, 2012 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oz in OK

      And your solution is... what? Banning divorce? Yeah, I'd love to see how many 'Christians' would suddenly start screaming 'big government in my private life!!!'

      April 12, 2012 at 10:13 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      how so, dood?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      I know. Give me the days when you could watch a good public execution with a family picnic. Also, why is it that rapes get so often reported now? I liked it so much better when they were generally dismissed and men feel comfortable committing the act again. Also, why can't we go back to racial segregation?

      Yeah, this is such a huge decline. Bring back the old ways.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
  13. RayT

    My neighbor is a perfect example of this story. 3 children, no husband, just her boyfriend = Section 8 housing, Food stamps,
    free healthcare for all via medicaid. He works to provide their cash to live well. OR get married to him, lose all of your benefits,
    have to go to work, find a sitter and live much more poorly, no thanks, she'll leave that to the suckers, I mean taxpaying workers.
    TAX PAYERS listen: Work much harder, over 60 million(most of which is fraud) welfare patients depend on you.

    April 12, 2012 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Funny how you seem to know the economic realities of 60 million individual people... fail.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
  14. Ryan Meeks

    Of course, considering our current morality, this is neither "good" or "bad," because good and bad are arbitrary and ever-changing in their definition and scope- most especially if they offend anyone or place and restriction or demand for self control on human behavior. Well, we just can't have that, can we?

    April 12, 2012 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Flowers

    So they're committed enough to make the baby just not committed enough to get married? A baby deserves to have 2 parents that are committed for life to each other so they don't grow up thinking that there's always a standby, exit-door whenever responsibility kicks in or life gets a little tough. Marriage isn't supposed to be easy and neither is raising children – but adult parents work at it and put the needs of the child first. Giving a child emotional stability, knowing they have two parents who are committed to each other helps them to feel secure & valued, not like they are some one night stand "oops" or the result of a "trial run" living arrangement. When 2 adults CHOOSE to bring a child into this world, it stops being all about THEM.

    April 12, 2012 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jenn

      There are many couple who stay together for their entire lifetime and never marry. Having a piece of paper does not make your relationship more valid then a committed non-married cohabitation couple.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      1 in 4, my dear. 1 in 4 "committed" couples decide to use their "standby exit door" even though they have taken vows and changed their names. What makes you think a marriage ceremony is superior to a genuine committment between two people that requires no legal action? I know plenty of non-married couples who are wholly devoted to their families.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      The level of commitment a couple may have to one another really doesn't have anything to do with having a piece of paper saying they're married. If a couple chooses to bring a baby into this world and are commited to raising it together it makes no difference if they're married. Why would the child not feel secure?

      April 12, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  16. Billy

    Better work harder,these leaches on society need out tax dollars

    April 12, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      Yeah, them leeches. Have you seen the DoD budget?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
  17. Lila

    It is one of the most idiotic trends out there and I know couples who are doing it. They go on and on that they aren't ready for marriage and it's really hard. I'm always like yeah, kids are easier to deal with than a full grown adult, they are a walk in the park. None of these couples will ever know the enjoyment of laying the foundation of a great marriage before all the kids come. That time of learning to work together makes having to deal with kids so much easier. Also many men decide not marry these women after they have kids. I know a 40+ woman who desperately wanted a baby, the guy has no intention of ever marrying her.

    April 12, 2012 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      I know. Why are they so afraid of marriage if they are willing to procreate? You may not need a piece of paper to prove you're committed, but if people are afraid of that, how can they guarantee they aren't going to abandon the child when it gets tough. Parenthood is really lifetime commitment.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:56 | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Perhaps these "idiots" are not "afraid" of marriage at all! Perhaps they see marriage as an unnecessary step, especially if they are non-religious. What makes my vow to my partner any less legitimate? Because we didn't change our last names, or spend a boat-load of money on a one-day event and 2 week honeymoon? We saved that money for our baby!

      April 12, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • rhobere

      HAHA. I've been "laying the foundation of a good" relationship for the last 7 years. I own a house with my girlfriend. We don't have kids. Maybe we'll just never know the joy of spending ten thousand dollars so our family can see us parade around like we're special. We're not afraid to get married. If we were afraid of commitment we wouldn't have move 1500 miles away from our families and signed into a 30 year mortgage. Bottomline, we don't see the need to get married. We know how we feel about eachother and we don't need some pretentious church creepo to have us repeat after him to prove it. It wouldn't change the dynamic of our relationship at all.

      you're assuming this report means people are moving in with each other and immediately having kids, but how many of them have been living together for nearly a decade like us? How many of them are not affiliated with the church and therefore don't even recognize the authority of a minister nor the "power" of the formal ceremony? How many of them have been married before and realized how useless it really is? I'm glad you're enjoying your marriage, but if you honestly think that you couldn't commit to your husband or vice versa without the ceremony first, then you should question the strength of your marriage.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      " None of these couples will ever know the enjoyment of laying the foundation of a great marriage before all the kids come. That time of learning to work together makes having to deal with kids so much easier."

      Lila, actually being married has zero effect on being able to lay out the foundation of a great relationship before all the kids come. That time of learning to work together doesn't go away just because you didn't sign your name to a piece of paper. And in this day and age that piece of paper means very little towards stability in a family unit.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      I was living with my spouse for years before we were married, there is a big difference. We are not religious and it's more than a piece of paper. Stop fooling yourselves.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Lila, it's only "more than a piece of paper" if you choose to make it more than a piece of paper. I wish you continued years of happiness with your family. But I don't see why some tend to look down at another couple who has the same life you do...but just didn't feel the need to get married.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
  18. Democrate Jim

    Just keep them votes coming . Vote Obama.

    April 12, 2012 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. G8rAlum

    Love this article! As a 24 year old career-driven woman, I totally see myself as part of the 'women over 35 as first-time parents' demographic. Later in life is just... BETTER. Today's science and medicine have made it totally possible to deliver a healthy baby, safely, over 35 and in some cases, even over 40. That opportunity in itself should be more than enough to motivate younger women to more carefully evaluate their options and to go for their dreams while they're young and in their prime.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      While I agree with you that having more stability in your life is a good thing for your child – the medical & scientific community clearly show that the risks for mom and baby increase as mom ages. The risk of birth defects, genetic defects, etc all increase with the mother's age. And, though to a much lesser extent, with the father's age as well. The medical community still identifies a mom as "advanced maternal age" if the child is conceived at age 35 or later. No pregnancy is without risk – but those risks increase with mom's age, so it isn't exactly "as safe" as having a pregnancy before age 35.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  20. Joe

    Mandatory sterilization after your first child... for *everybody*. There is zero need for people to be having multiple babies. It is selfish and it is uncaring about the planet we all share. And if other countries don't want to buy into this, drop a bi-annual nuke on them to make up for it.

    We need to get the world's population down to about 1 million again. Let this earth heal and rejuvenate. If we reduce births to one per female, each generation will halve or more until we get back down to that number. Humans are a cancer, a virus.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      Mandatory sterilization? Wow. So, couples who can afford more than one baby should be limited?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      So, you want to nuke people? Why don't you do the earth a favor and off yourself? After all, every little bit helps

      April 12, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
  21. Mike

    It used to be shameful to get pregnant out of wedlock. That by itself caused many women and men to wait for marriage. We no longer even know the meaning of shame. We just want everything now. Why would a guy marry if he can get sex with no strings attached? The GOP wants to go back to a society that doesn't exist anymore. The liberals just dole out the money to many liberal behavior possible. Eventually it will catch up with us.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • T

      People didn't wait for marriage to have sex. They just got married when they found out she was pregnant than had a "premie". Being pregnant before marriage is not a new trend.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • inyourhead00

      Yes, and now we have shows like "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Moms" glamorizing pregnancy. It is very sickening.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
  22. NamCbtVet

    Hmm. Seems to be a logical outcome of cohabitation by people of childbearing age. So, why is this news?

    April 12, 2012 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dancingjelly

      because it's an election year and illiegal hispanic immigration is all the rage! I think there are more balck babies out of wedlock and on the welfare rolls but no mention of that. That would be racist. Also, now that George Zimmerman has been arrested they need something else to fan the flames with.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  23. blake

    Out of wedlock pregnancies has reach epidemic proportions, especially in the black community. You are fooling yourself if you think this is good for the child. Or good for society.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. xirume

    Now, watch some wacko republican attempt to outlaw cohabitation and deny all benefits to the mother and the unborn because its not a blessed union. Already some of the comments here reek of that idea.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dancingjelly

      and odd that there's no mention of how many single moms there are who do not receive any Govt support or support of any kind. Not everyone has kids out of wedlock to get Govt assitance. And not all out of wedlock pregnancies are intentional. Can't believe I'm even still commenting on this ridiculous article. ???

      April 12, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
  25. K

    I chose not to have any kids, because I see what all these other women choose to go through. Not 1,2 but 3 baby daddy's! No morals anymore. If you can't afford kids quit having them and making it everyone's elses responsibility!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Chris

    This is BAD for society in so many ways. Morality aside, here are a few facts about this lovely trend:

    1. children born to unmarried mothers are much more likely to be living in poverty.
    2. children born to unmarried mothers are much more likely to be abused
    3. children bortn to unmarried mothers are much more likely to have babies before they themselves get married, thus repeating the cycle
    4. If poor people are the ones having the most kids, who is going to pay for them in the next generation? There will be nobody left to foot the bill.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alyssa

      Well stated Chris- nothing good in this report at all! Morality not even coming into play- there is still only BAD news in this article.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • rhobere

      The first three things you just listed are facts for SINGLE mothers, not unmarried ones. There is a huge difference.

      and despite the trends, someone born poor doesn't have to stay poor. That's one of the perks of being in america.

      April 12, 2012 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  27. blam

    Marriage is good for two things – tax breaks and adultery.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dancingjelly

      hahaha! (smile)

      April 12, 2012 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
    • dancingjelly

      hahaha! (smile) ...

      April 12, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  28. mcjny

    If you want to see marriage come back, change the divorce and male reproductive laws. Why would any man with money get married at this point? So that he can give half of his money to his now ex-wife. Not going to happen.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KB

      It's no longer as much of an issue of men having to give their ex-wives half of their money, since most women make their own money these days anyway. Besides the children will suffer more than the parent's wallet!

      April 12, 2012 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • mcjny

      You're not married. I can tell. You should look up the laws of divorce in your state, particularly if you have children. Then it's insane. We are just starting to get rid of lifetime alimony statutes in the US. People are not bothering with marriage because it doesn't actually serve the purpose it once did. There is no security in being married. You get the same benefits in cohab without having to pay lawyers to part ways. The decline will continue in my estimation

      April 12, 2012 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • richer than him

      Well, I suppose it works both ways. I make a lot more money than just about all of the men I have dated recently. Why should I marry any of them and then give half my money and a house to a future ex-husband?

      April 12, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • Pappa Smurf

      mcjny You are right on the money with your statement!!! I'm currently paying CS, alimony, lost my house both cars and 1/2 of money in our accounts to a women that was a stay at home mom and SHE was the one that cheated.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • KB

      And I can tell that you don't have any children, because you mentioned nothing about laws dealing with them, only about money and alimony. Actually even if you are not married the law may still be involved. Look up laws for "common" law unions.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • KB

      And I can tell that you don't have any children, because you mentioned almost nothing about laws dealing with them, mostly about money and alimony. Also even if you are not married the law may still be involved. Look up laws for "common" law unions.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
  29. Alyssa

    I'm a liberal myself- but I don't see this information in a positive light. Women with little income are more likely to have 4 or more children? 1/4 of children are born into unmarried households? The mean age of a woman who has her first child is 23? NONE of this is good stuff. We need to educate women on birth control and family planning. 23 with little to no income and no spouse with a baby?! How can anyone see this as a good thing? I'm 32, married with close to a 6 figure family income and it's still hard to raise a child. We just had our first child due to PROPER planning and have been married for 6 years.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • inyourhead00

      Good for you Alyssa, that is how it should be! Congrats on your baby!

      April 12, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      You really have to look into the numbers behind "unmarried household". Most posters here are assuming that means a single woman who has 4 kids and 4 absent baby-daddies. But I think the article is trying to emphasize that cohabiting couples (which might as well be married) are the numbers on the rise. That's not a "single parent" household.

      My boyfriend and I have lived together for 3 years. Together we have nearly a 6 figure income. And if we choose to have a child we feel no need to sign a piece of paper. With divorce climbing all the time it really means absolutely nothing to be married or not when you commit to raising a child together.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
  30. Keith

    I'm 35, married, and expect my first (and only) child within the month. Wife and I are both University professors.

    At this point, there's plenty of compelling evidence that higher education leads to fewer kids and waiting longer to have them. People aren't having these kids because they want a "free ride" from the government; they're having them because they're not planful. Taking away taxpayer support for these kids doesn't mean we'd have fewer of them, it means we'd have more neglected children.

    We could save an aweful lot of money by: 1. properly educating our kids about contraception, knowing that they will likely engage in sex outside of marriage; 2. PAY for their contraception up until a reasonable time (22 would let them get through a community college program or BA); and 3. make marriage an attractive option again, by modeling healthy marriages, opening it up for ALL consenting adults (including LGBT couples!), and not glamorizing throw-away marriages in the media.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Pappa Smurf

    Men are getting smarter by not getting married. There is no advantage for men to get married. In a divorce men 99% of the time lose custody of their children, house, money, cars and then have to pay child support and alimony.

    If you don't get married and have kids, you will still lose custody and pay child support but you won't lose everything else and depending on the state you don't have to pay alimony.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IceT

      I mostly agree except that most Fathers I know lose primary placement because they leave the house or don't fight for their children. Society has left Fathers with the feeling they have less right to their children than Mothers. It's not true and don't let any court take your children from you!

      April 12, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      I do agree that society does need to make custody more fair for decent fathers.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
  32. Starman

    I think it's nice that the "unmarried couple" in the picture are both wearing rings. I guess they're "friends with benefits" rings.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • UghPathetic

      Also notice how h-e-a-l-t-h-y the foods she's prepping are. Not many preg women I know were quite that into salads during their terms - in fact just the mere thought of salads would be typically enough to make 'em nauseous! Maybe that's why the woman is looking like she's bracing herself in the pic? lol

      April 12, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
  33. UghPathetic

    Funny how you need a license to own a dog, but not for having kids!

    April 12, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. M.E.

    I will never understand why people want to throw away their 20s by having a child. I've been lucky enough to have loads of awesome nights with my friends and fiancee that I could never have had if I was trying to arrange a sitter and all that. Youth truly is wasted on the young if you're throwing it away on having a kid during those years.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • B.R.

      I thought the same way until I had my son at 23. Now, at 26, I pity my peers who haven't yet experienced parental love. No night out with friends can compare to bedtime stories and nighttime kisses. My life before my son now seems so shallow, although at the time I felt bad for all the parent's who were "missing out". Now I see that I was the one who was missing out.

      And this is coming from someone who had no desire to become a parent, in fact I had an IUD at the time and my husband was in the process of getting a vasectomy since we were dead set against having kids. I hate to think what life would be life if our "accident" didn't happen. We would have missed out on the most amazing thing that has ever happened to us.

      April 12, 2012 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
  35. IceT

    Better that they're cohabitating than the one and done mentality of so many baby daddies and baby mommas out there.
    Marriage is nothing more than cohabitating after a ritualistic paper signing .. parents are still parents.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ally

      Well put, IceT. There's a big difference between a loving, committed couple having a child and a one night hook-up between two people. Most of the replies on this board seem to ignore that difference.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
  36. HERE

    They sure are, and they are sucking off the system.
    SIngle mom with kids? = BAM lots of Gov't/State $$$$.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. HERE

    GET IT?

    April 12, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. leonhl

    "The primary reason that we even look at that is because studies have shown that there’s differences in the resources available to children born in families with only one parent," This is a big part of why people aren't marrying before having children. The mom is considered "single" even when cohabitating and therefore is eligible for all kinds of aid that she and her husband would not qualify for-Medical to pay for the delivery and well-baby checks, Section 8 housing, food stamps, WIC for food supplements and baby formula, etc., etc. It's a way of having your cake and eating it too-live together, but have the gov't pay for everything. At least that's the way it is here in California, the welfare state.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. iz

    I have a friend from college who has been with her boyfriend for 15 years and 2 children. Between their 4 parents there have been something like 9 divorces and none of their marriages made to anywhere close to a decade. Marriage was supposed to mean a stable lfe but that's no longer the case.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kay

      I'm not saying that being parents and not married never works, but as a counselor I've seen more non-married couples with unplanned pregnancies than unmarried couples who planned everything together. And despite trying to keep the relationships intact they dissolve, especially because many were barely adults in the first place. In these situations the person that suffers the most is always the child.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Kay, While I don't dispute what you're saying as a counselor; I think this article is pointing out that those "unmarried couples who have planned everything together" are a growing subset of families.

      If you just look at that subset (committed unmarried couples who planned everything out) I'd bet money that the percentage of dissolved relationships after a child is born are on par with married couples divorcing after a child. The only difference in those 2 subsets of family type is that one chose to ritually sign a piece of paper and one didn't.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
  40. Hoot

    The word is "cohabit." Cohabitate is not a word. See also irregardless.

    April 12, 2012 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Ally

    A lot of the posters here seem to be throwing "cohabitating couples" in with promiscuis / irresponsible boyfriend / girlfriend couples. These are two completely different things.

    I've been with my boyfriend for over 3 years. We've talked about getting married, but don't feel the need to have a piece of paper. We've also talked about having a child. If we do choose to have a child, then you can be darn sure that we have the level of commitment needed to raise the child together.

    We can grow old together without being married.

    April 12, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      the issue is not "piece of paper", the issue is how much are you two involved in the lives of your in-law relatives. If you are just the two of you and his family is HIS FAMILY and your family is MY FAMILY, then just a matter of time before you have an argument or something else and you are finished with each other! Marriage is a relationship which transcends just the two immediate participants, its a bond between families. A relationship that is just between two immediate guy and girl is not a marriage in spirit, even WITH the piece of paper.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Yes, in our case both sides of the family know and like each other. That is completely independant of a marriage. I can't tell you how many married friends I have who hate their in-laws and vice versa.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
  42. Sid

    I am married..But after 10 years and 1 kid later, the whole marriage thing seems like a piece if paper which has no bearing on the commitment of a couple..I still look back on the wedding day when my wallet ran dry and the guests ate and drank at my expense. Ironically in cook county where i live, the divorce rate is over 50%. Anyway this is purely my opinion

    April 12, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      not true. marriage is something that involves relatives and immediate family. cohabitor relationships in general are much more likely to be much more separated from their respective families. A a result, they are much higher chances of them separating on a whim. Married couples with significant relative involvement in the relationship tend to last longer as the couple have to keep in mind the needs of people other than just themselves.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Cohabiting couples who have relatives to support them on both sides last longer too. It's the support from family that helps the couple. Not being married.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
  43. rhobere

    Could it be that maybe people are starting to realize that they don't need the church's graces to be able to commit their lives to someone else? I've lived with my girlfriend for 7 years. We own a house and two cars together although we don't have, nor do we plan to have kids anytime soon because we're in school.

    Marriage doesn't mean anything. its just a formal ceremony to make vows that should just be a given when you get involved in a serious relationship. I don't need a minister to tell me to repeat after him to believe and live by the things he's going to say. If you want to do that for the sake of tradition, more power to you, but the ceremony doesn't change the dynamic of your relationship or force you to become more responsible. Its not a figurative dividing line between your child hood and adult hood. If you were irresponsible before, you'll be irresponsible afterwards and that's probably why most marriages fail. People think, "I'll get married and then I'll be a big boy/girl!" In reality, you need to already be a big boy/girl before you try and commit to a life long relationship. Young, stupid people think that getting married makes them seem more mature. Then three years later, they're divorced with kids, one of them is paying alimony, neither is educated and neither has a good job.

    April 12, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Serious Person

    "I refuse marriage only because I don't need a piece of paper to prove my love to my man. An engagement ring is good enough. We've already got a house together under both names, a baby on the way, and a lot of other things in both our names; why is it necessary to be married, too? Why can't we just enjoy ourselves for who we are, instead of being forced to marry because society wants us to? Just because your not married, doesn't mean your going to leave each other. (Besides, after owning so much together, it'd be stupid to leave anyway lol)."

    So he hasn't asked, huh?

    April 12, 2012 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rhobere

      they own a house together and have a kid on the way. I'm sure the topic has come up.

      April 12, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
  45. George_Washington

    My wife and I have been together for 30 years and we never went through the church or state process......
    The ceremony is not necessary for a long life together.
    Also, if this is true "Women with household incomes lower than 150% of the poverty level were more likely to have four or more children." ............ why are there people who want to deny birth control and government assistance? Seems illogical to do both.

    April 12, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. sao

    you reap what you sow....there is a time for everything....watch

    April 12, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Mephistopholes

    These couples shouldn't get married. As soon as they do the government will combine their incomes and force them to pay much higher taxes. I just finished my taxes and discovered that my wife and I (both educated and employed) pay about $10K in taxes just for the priviledge of being married. If we were allowed to distribute our assets and children between us I could put us both in lower tax brackets.

    But again – This just shows how anti-family and anti-success the government has become. If I thought that additional 10K was going to provide parks, museums and infrastructure I would gladly pay it but I know that it is going to Obama to be handed out like lollipops to his constiuents as all sorts of Welfare, Medicaid, EITC, and any other redistriubtion scheme that he and his merry band of robbers can come up with.

    April 12, 2012 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. podunda

    Funny how these people think they're not married ...

    April 12, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Confused

    I LOVE how the picture they used for this article shows an expectant couple, both wearing wedding bands ... anyone else find that hilarious given the the main point of the article?

    April 12, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • blaqb0x

      That's a pretty big salad for the 2 1/2 of them, too!

      April 12, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
    • Texas Crazyman

      I agree, it seems these days you just can't trust the media any more. THEY SEEM TO BE JUST USING THEIR POSITION FOR THEIR PERSONAL VIEWS AND WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO THAT CRAP. This is what happens to society when their integrity and moral compass is lost. They don't trust their relationship and have no Commitment to anything. Just look at the trash in Hollywood, every one there has their legs spread wide open, and if they mare not having their own, they will go to Africa and rent some!!!!LOL LOL

      April 12, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
    • Oscar Mayer

      This country is going down the tubes. Get married sissies!

      April 12, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • JoeJoe

      Those are either friendship or virgin purity rings....dont be confused anymore ok ?

      April 12, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • donna

      Yeah, that is pretty funny!

      April 12, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • TooFunny

      That is EXACTLY what I thought/first thing I saw as soon as I clicked on this article. Maybe they should have taken a different angle...

      April 12, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • hez316

      Maybe they aren't married to each other?

      April 12, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      First thing I saw too.

      April 12, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Hez316, you made me laugh out loud!

      April 12, 2012 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      Thats was the first thing I thought the second I looked at the picture. They do not even try anymore at CNN.

      April 12, 2012 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
    • durg

      I bet it's pretty hard to find a stock photo of a pregnant couple like that without rings.

      April 12, 2012 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
    • rahul

      its a stock photo probably posted by some intern. kind of funny, i guess.

      April 12, 2012 at 21:04 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      > Maybe they should have taken a different angle...

      Um, stock photo? You do realize that CNN doesn't do a photo shoot for every article?

      April 13, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
  50. harryzoyster

    Obama's war on women continues! Rosen has visited the WH once a month on average since Barry was elected. Her hateful rhetoric against stay-at-home moms espouses Obama's view about them – that they're not an integral part of the economy or society.

    April 12, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ron

      I have nothing against the stay-at-home mothers... as long as they can get by on the father's pay... what I have a problem with is these women who want to keep having kids and be supported by the taxpayers. If you can't afford to support the kid on your own, DON'T HAVE ONE.

      April 12, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • cecilia

      hey you – it is not working this time – no no you guys don't get to turn the tables and try to make up stories. President Obama holds women in high regard ( that's another way to say the Democrats do not have a war on women)
      that would be the Republicans – if you are going to intentionally misunderstand the topic you really should not voice your opinion

      April 12, 2012 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
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