U.S. Department of Justice, Office Of Justice Programs, Innovation - Partnerships - Safer Neighborhoods
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Working for Youth Justice and Safety
OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book logo jump over products navigation bar
OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book logoAbout SSBFrequently Asked QuestionsPublicationsData Analysis ToolsNational Data SetsOther ResourcesAsk a Question

Juvenile Population Characteristics
Overview
Related FAQs
Related Publications
Related Links
Data Analysis Tools
Juveniles as Victims
Juveniles as Offenders
Juvenile Justice System Structure & Process
Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Juveniles in Court
Juveniles on Probation
Juveniles in Corrections
Juvenile Reentry & Aftercare
Statistical Briefing Book Home

OJJDP logo

Printer-priendlyPrinter-friendly
Juvenile Population Characteristics
Teen Mothers
Q: What proportion of teen mothers are unmarried and how has it changed in recent years?
A: The proportion of births to unmarried teen mothers grew substantially between 1955 and 2010.

Percent of births to unmarried teen mothers, 1955-2010

  Under 15 Age 15 Age 16 Age 17 Age 18 Age 19 Ages 15-19 Birth rate
ages 15-19*
1955
66.3%
42.8%
26.5%
17.8%
12.4%
8.7%
14.2%
90.3%
1956
66.1
42.2
26.8
17.3
12.1
8.4
14.0
94.6
1957
66.1
42.6
26.8
17.4
12.0
8.2
13.9
96.3
1958
66.2
42.6
26.9
17.7
12.4
8.8
14.3
91.4
1959
67.9
43.7
27.5
18.6
12.7
9.0
14.8
90.4
1960
67.9
44.4
28.1
18.2
12.9
9.2
14.8
89.1
1961
69.7
46.6
29.2
19.4
13.6
9.7
15.5
88.6
1962
69.5
47.0
30.6
20.5
13.8
9.6
15.7
81.4
1963
71.1
50.2
31.5
21.6
15.3
10.6
17.4
76.7
1964
74.2
53.0
34.9
23.2
16.1
11.8
19.0
73.1
1965
78.5
56.4
37.4
25.8
17.6
13.3
20.8
70.5
1966
76.3
57.8
40.6
27.8
19.2
13.9
21.9
70.3
1967
80.3
59.7
42.6
30.3
21.4
15.6
24.2
67.5
1968
81.0
62.5
45.3
32.7
23.6
17.6
26.7
65.6
1969
79.3
62.8
46.1
33.5
24.5
18.5
27.8
65.5
1970
80.8
64.8
47.6
35.0
26.0
19.6
29.5
68.3
1971
82.1
65.6
49.1
36.5
27.1
20.2
30.9
64.5
1972
81.9
66.7
50.1
37.7
28.5
21.5
32.8
61.7
1973
84.8
66.2
50.8
38.7
29.3
22.4
33.9
59.3
1974
84.6
68.5
52.8
40.0
31.3
23.5
35.4
57.5
1975
87.0
71.2
55.8
43.1
34.3
26.1
38.2
55.6
1976
86.4
71.9
58.6
46.2
36.4
27.8
40.3
52.8
1977
88.2
74.3
60.5
49.2
39.6
30.2
42.9
52.8
1978
87.3
74.1
61.9
50.4
41.0
32.2
44.1
51.5
1979
88.8
76.8
64.6
52.8
43.3
34.0
46.1
52.3
1980
88.7
77.8
65.5
54.9
45.1
35.7
47.6
53.0
1981
89.2
79.2
67.4
56.8
47.0
37.1
49.2
52.2
1982
89.2
80.3
69.3
58.6
48.6
38.6
50.7
52.4
1983
90.4
81.3
71.6
61.5
51.7
41.1
53.4
51.4
1984
91.1
82.6
72.9
63.4
53.9
43.7
55.6
50.6
1985
91.8
83.7
74.1
65.4
56.3
46.5
58.0
51.0
1986
92.5
85.7
76.8
67.4
59.1
49.4
60.8
50.2
1987
92.9
86.7
79.0
70.7
61.5
51.7
63.4
50.6
1988
93.6
87.7
80.0
72.6
64.2
53.9
65.3
53.0
1989
92.4
87.4
80.7
73.3
65.7
56.2
66.6
57.3
1990
91.6
86.9
80.0
73.7
66.2
57.7
67.1
59.9
1991
91.3
87.1
81.1
74.9
68.1
59.4
68.8
61.8
1992
91.3
87.0
81.5
75.5
69.2
61.0
70.0
60.3
1993
91.3
87.0
81.8
76.5
70.5
62.6
71.3
59.0
1994
94.5
90.7
85.9
81.0
74.8
66.3
75.5
58.2
1995
93.5
89.8
85.6
80.6
74.6
65.9
75.2
56.0
1996
93.8
90.3
86.1
81.7
75.3
67.2
75.9
53.5
1997
95.7
93.0
88.5
84.0
77.5
68.6
77.8
51.3
1998
96.6
93.5
89.1
84.9
78.2
69.9
78.5
50.3
1999
96.5
93.5
89.4
85.1
78.6
70.5
78.7
48.8
2000
96.5
93.5
89.7
85.2
78.9
70.8
78.8
47.7
2001
96.3
93.7
89.6
85.3
79.2
71.4
78.9
45.0
2002
97.0
94.3
90.1
86.2
80.3
72.7
80.0
42.6
2003
97.1
95.0
91.1
87.7
81.6
74.2
81.3
41.1
2004
97.4
95.3
91.5
88.3
82.7
75.8
82.4
40.5
2005
98.0
95.7
92.4
89.0
83.6
77.0
83.3
39.7
2006
98.3
96.8
93.3
90.0
84.4
77.8
84.2
41.1
2007
98.8
97.7
94.1
91.0
85.7
79.6
85.5
41.5
2008
99.1
98.1
95.0
92.0
87.1
80.9
86.7
40.2
2009
99.0
98.4
95.5
92.6
87.8
81.7
87.2
37.9
2010
99.3
98.7
96.4
93.5
88.7
82.8
88.1
34.2
* Rate per 1,000 females ages 15–19

[ Graph version ]  [ Excel file ]

  • In 1955, 14% of all births to females ages 15–19 were to unmarried women. By 2010, this proportion had increased to 88%.
  • In 1955, of the 90 births per 1,000 females ages 15–19, 77 were to married women and 13 were to unmarried women. In 2010, of the 34 births per 1,000 females ages 15–19, 4 were to married women and 30 were to unmarried women.
  • Since 1955, mothers under age 15 were more likely to be unmarried than their counterparts ages 15–19. However, the gap has declined in recent years. In 1955, for example, the proportion of mothers under age 15 who were unmarried was more than 4 times that of unmarried mothers ages 15–19 (66% vs. 14%). This gap narrowed by 2009, such that younger mothers were about 1.1 times as likely to be unmarried as older teen moms (99% vs. 88%).
  • Overall, births to unmarried women ages 15–17 totaled 103,755 in 2010.
  • Although the majority of unmarried teen mothers were white, black teens were more likely than others to be unmarried mothers.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/population/qa01303.asp?qaDate=2010. Released on December 17, 2012.

Data Source: National Center for Health Statistics' Annual Births: Final Data for the years 1999-2009 and Nonmarital childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999. Available from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm

Data Source: Martin, J.A., Hamilton, B.E., Ventura, S.J., et al. Births: Final Data for 2010. National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 61, No. 01. [PDF]. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 2012.

 

USA.gov | Privacy | Policies & Disclaimers | FOIA | Site Map | Ask a Question | OJJDP Home
A component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice