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Juvenile Population Characteristics
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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 2019.
* Number of births per 1,000 females ages 15–19.

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  • In 1955, 14.2% of all births to teens ages 15-19 were to unmarried females. By 2018, this proportion increased to 90.5%.
  • In 1955, of the 90 births per 1,000 teens ages 15-19, 77 were to married females and 13 were to unmarried females. In 2019, of the 17 births per 1,000 teens ages 15-19, 2 were to married females and 15 were to unmarried females.
  • 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 (66.3% vs. 14.2%). This gap narrowed by 2019, such that mothers under age 15 were about 1.1 times as likely to be unmarried as mothers ages 15-19 (99.6% vs. 90.5%).

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/population/qa01303.asp?qaDate=2019. Released on April 16, 2021.

Data Source: National Center for Health Statistics' Annual Births: Final Data reports for the years 1999-2019 and Nonmarital childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999. Available from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm


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