According to a recent report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one in four babies are born to unwed parents. The figure for the first births of women aged 15 to 44 years old has increased from 12 percent in 2002 to 22 percent at present. The number has doubled in 10 years and tripled in 17 years.
Increasing cohabitation among men and women is one of the factors that the study’s lead author, Gladys Martinez, points out. "More people are cohabiting. It's more likely that they are going to have children when in cohabiting unions,” she said.
More than 22,000 men and women were interviewed for the study, from 2006 until 2010, as part of the National Survey of Family Growth. The average age of first time parents in America, on the other hand, has remained almost the same, 25 for men and 23 for women.
Some experts speculate that recession is one of the reasons why couples choose to not get married and still have kids. Says sociologist Karen Benjamin Guzzo, from the Bowling Green State University in Ohio, ”Marriage is an achievement that you enter into when you’re ready. But in the meantime, life happens. You form relationships. You have sex. You get pregnant. In a perfect world, they would prefer to be married, but where the economy is now, they’re not going to be able to get married, and they don’t want to wait to have kids.”