In the traditional American family narrative, a man and a woman get married, they have two or three kids and live happily ever after. But new stats show that's hardly the way America is anymore.
According to a new report from the United Nations, about 40 percent of births in the United States occur out of wedlock, meaning the parents of the child are not married. To put that in comparison, in 1970 that number was only 10 percent. And while 40 percent is a lot, it's slightly lower than the average in Europe. In fact, about 60 percent of births in France occur out of wedlock.
And before you go off and say, "See, this is proof of the moral decay of America!" You should know that the vast majority of out-of-wedlock births are from couples who do live together but simply are not married.
The report says this data indicates that there's been a major shift in societal and religious norms and the idea of marriage simply isn't as important to Americans as it once was. On top of that, women are working more than in the past, and many are delaying childbirth until they're established in their careers, a factor the report indicates is contributing to these out-of-wedlock births.
There are other statistics showing that the number of people getting married is also declining in the United States, even though the rate of cohabitation is actually increasing. So more people are living together, they're just not getting married.
So don't feel bad if you get pregnant out of wedlock. You simply are representing our modern times.