The birth rate rose slightly for women of all ages, and births to unwed mothers reached an all-time high of about 40 percent, continuing a trend begun years ago. More than three-quarters of these women were 20 or older.
For a variety of reasons, it's become more acceptable for women to have babies without a husband, said Duke University's S. Philip Morgan, a leading fertility researcher.
Even happy couples may be living together without getting married, experts say. And more women—especially those in their 30s and 40s—are choosing to have children despite their single status.
The rising out of wedlock birth rate is a national crisis, but most people greet it with a yawn. The absence of moms and dads in the lives of their children is a key reason factor behind poverty and criminal activity. The social fabric will continue to fray until this crisis is addressed.