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Millennials Increasingly Putting Baby Carriage Before Marriage

Short & Sweet

Millennials are the first generation to have more babies outside of marriage, than in it. According to Child Trends, more than half of births to American women under the age of 30, happen without a wedding ring.

The Lowdown

First comes love; then comes the baby carriage; then comes marriage...maybe. This is how millennials would probably rewrite this famous song.

The New York Times reports that marriage is perceived as increasingly unnecessary by young adults.

The biggest reason cited by unmarried 20-somethings for not tying the knot: there's no financial benefit. Women under the age of 30 feel more than ever that they can support themselves and don't "need" to get married, even if they get pregnant.

It seems single motherhood has also lost some of its stigma in recent years.

Here are a few startling statistics from the Child Trends report that analyzed 2009 data from the National Center for Health Statistics:

• Only 59 percent of women, of all ages, are married when they have children.

• An astonishing 41 percent of children are born to unmarried women.

• Over half—53 percent—of children born to women under 30 are outside of marriage.

Data proves that a racial divide definitely exists here, with 73 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of Caucasian children are born outside of marriage. An educational divide was also highlighted among women who chose to put marriage before the baby carriage: 92 percent of college educated women, 62 percent of women with some college education and 43 percent of high school educated women.

While marriage is clearly on the decline among millennials, cohabitating is not. According to NPR, couples born after 1980 are more likely to live together than in any past generation. In fact, 8 million couples are currently shacking up before they say "I do"—if they ever plan to.

The Upshot

Unfortunately, studies show that cohabitating couples are more likely to break up than married couples, even if children are involved. Research also suggests that kids born to unwed parents are more likely to face a whole slew of problems later in life, from failing in school, to emotional and behavioral problems.

So it seems the stability of marriage is never out of vogue when it comes to raising happy, healthy children.

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