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Nonmarital Childbearing

Nonmarital Childbearing In Developing Nations, Nonmarital Childbearing In Developed Nations, Risk Factors Associated With Nonmarital Childbearing In Developed Nations


Nonmarital childbearing is a part of the reproductive experience of many women, but much more so in some cultures than others. Nonmarital births are of two basic types. Some births, especially among younger women, are to those who never have been married. The other type of nonmarital childbearing occurs among women who were previously married, but who were divorced or widowed at the time of the birth. Among other factors, increasing diversity in marriage and family forms have contributed to the prevalence of nonmarital births. Specifically, cohabiting unions, where partners live in an informal, marriage-like relationship, often result in nonmarital births. Such unions are common in many cultures (Alan Guttmacher Institute 1998). Changing social and cultural norms including increased acceptance of premarital sex, out-of-wedlock childbearing, abortions, divorce, decisions to never marry, and greater labor force participation by women are thought to contribute to upward trends in nonmarital childbearing (Thornton 1995).

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & Parenthood