Marriage Realities (continued)

  • Teen marriage is rare: Marriage among teenagers is rare in today's society. In 2002, only 2.5% of teens aged 15 to 19 had ever been married, compared to 11% in 1975. The trend over time has been toward getting married at a later age.

  • Marital status of teen mothers: Marriage and birth patterns among teens have changed over time, shifting from a general trend of marrying before pregnancy, to marrying as a result of pregnancy, to becoming pregnant and not marrying.

  • Pregnancy no longer means "parents must marry": In the early 1960s, 70% of white teens and 36% of African American teens who became pregnant got married before their child was born. By the 1990s, those percentages had decreased to 20% and 7%, respectively.

  • Teen mothers' marital hopes and realities: Although unmarried teen mothers often have high expectations for eventually marrying the father of their child, few ever do.

  • Many teen mothers have unrealistically high expectations for marriage: At the time of their child's birth, almost one-third of unmarried teen mothers say they are "certain" that they will marry the biological father of their child. In reality, however, not even 8% of unwed teen mothers are married to the baby's father within one year of giving birth.

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