Non-Marital Pregnancy

Essay by afelton1906University, Bachelor's October 2007

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Non-marital pregnancy is defined as producing a baby without living together as husband and wife. Today the non-marital ratio (non-marital births to all births) is one of our most serious social problems being watched. Studies show that between 1960 and 1999 the non-marital ratio went from 5.3 percent to 33 percent, a more than six-fold increase. This is seen by many as a measure of our society's sexual permissiveness, as well as its less than total commitment to the needs of children. Non-marital pregnancies are most common among teenagers, although it happens to women of all ages. Teenage mothers are at risk of socioeconomic disadvantage throughout their lives than those who delay childbearing until their twenties. They are generally less educated, have larger families, and have higher levels of non-marital, unintended births. The younger the mother, the greater the likelihood the she and her baby will experience health complications, primary due to inadequate prenatal care, poor nutrition, and other lifestyle factors.

In this paper, I will elaborate on three issues: the potential reasons as to why non-marital births happen, what has been done to address the problem with non-marital pregnancies, and what I think should be done to address the problem with non-marital pregnancies.

Although there is a need to reduce non-marital births, there is little agreement on the causes of our current conditions. Some argue that as more women entered the work force over the last 50 years, they were better able to support themselves and thus have less reason to marry. Evidence on this theory can be mixed. Some researchers have found that greater economic independence has contributed to higher divorce rates and more non-marital births, still others report that trends in female employment and earnings have had little effect on marriage rates for either blacks or whites.