On October 18, the National Center for Health Statistics released a new report tracking trends and patterns in nonmarital births. "Based on data from birth certificates reported to NCHS through the National Vital Statistics System, the report describes the level of unmarried childbearing over the past 60 years, by such characteristics as age, race, and ethnicity of the mother." In line with a plethora of social data coming out of Washington in the last year showing improvement in crime, teen pregnancy, test scores, and other longstanding social ills, the report tracks a 50-year rise in births to unmarried women that has leveled off in the last decade. Specifically, "after rising dramatically during the half century from 1940 to 1990, out-of-wedlock childbearing leveled off, or slowed its rate of increase, during the 1990's. Since 1994, the percent of births to unmarried women has remained stable at about 33 percent."


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