By Terry Vanderheyden

WASHINGTON, November 1, 2005 ( – The percentage of women who are unmarried when they have children has reached a record high according to statistics released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The statistics for 2004, released Friday, revealed that 35.7 percent of all births were to unmarried women and that the percentage of unmarried mothers increased for all ages and races. The increase translates to almost 1.5 million children being born to unwed mothers last year, up significantly – four percent – from 2003.

Over half of births to women in their early twenties and nearly three in 10 births to women aged 25–29 were to unmarried mothers, while four out of five teenage women who gave birth were unwed.

“It’s really unfair to children,” said Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project, according to a USA TODAY report. “It means more children are going to grow up without mothers and fathers.”

Popenoe and his group at Rutgers confirmed that the increased prevalence of unwed mothers is bad news for children. Swedish researchers documented that children raised by single parents are twice as likely to suffer from psychiatric problems, suicide and other injuries as those raised in intact two-parent homes.

US data suggested children reared by one birth parent are twice as likely to drop out of school or become teenage parents, regardless of a parent’s education credentials. They’re also one-and-a-half times more likely to be jobless after leaving school.

See related coverage:
  Census Data Reveals Children Need a Mum and a Dad
  Former Rocker Geldof says Two Parents Ideal Way to Raise Children
  Children Of Single Parents Have Poorer Health, Swedish Study Says