In 2007, about 40% of American children were born out of wedlock. Perhaps surprisingly, only 23% of these non-marital births were to teens. None of this should come as a surprise, says Bradford Wilcox in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, given that a 2003 Gallup Survey found that 64% of young adults age 18 to 29 thought that having a baby out of wedlock was “morally acceptable.” Writes Wilcox:
But a number of academics and advocates who track family issues are more than willing to provide intellectual cover to contemporary young adults’ laissez-faire approach to childbearing and marriage. For instance, Stephanie Coontz, the director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families, wrote on the New York Times “Room for Debate” blog that “policymakers and researchers need to discard one-size-fits-all generalizations about the causes, consequences, risks and benefits of different family forms. Average outcomes from married and single parenting hide huge variations” in child well-being. Likewise, Silvia Henriquez, the executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, urged readers to resist the temptation to “present single motherhood as a problem in itself.”
Read Dr. Wilcox’s response.