From The Boston Globe
By Irene Sege
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Danielle Cole has worn a diamond engagement ring for five years, since shortly before she and her fiancé moved in together. To her surprise, she was pregnant at the time. Otherwise, she and Christopher Feener would probably be long married by now.
But first came love. Then came little Payton. Then came Kayleigh. Then came renting their first house, in Saugus, after years of moving from apartment to apartment, and working to repay the debt they accumulated starting a family when Feener was earning $12.50 an hour at Home Depot and Cole, after a 3-month maternity leave, made $13 an hour as a day-care teacher.
What didn't come was a wedding.
Cole, 28, is the new face of unmarried motherhood. More than half of out-of-wedlock babies born in the United States are now born to women who, like Cole, live with the fathers of their children, according to two new studies.
Washington-based Child Trends, in a research brief published in May using the National Center for Education Statistics' Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, finds that 52 percent of nonmarital births are to cohabiting couples. The University of Wisconsin's Center for Demography and Ecology reached the same conclusion in a working paper it expects to publish this summer after analyzing data from the National Center for Health Statistics' National Survey of Family Growth.
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This is something. 52% (according to the study) of unwed births are from cohabitating couples. It looks like the US is becoming a little more like Europe. If this results in the 35-hour work-week or soccer passing football in popularity, we’re moving to Australia. This has trended up from 29% in the early 80’s. Now the punchline, 94% of married couples are together two years after the birth of their first child versus 69% for cohabitating couples. We’re not sure if the researchers had a social/political agenda, but that is a huge gap. The conventional wisdom is that kids have a better chance of ‘succeeding’ if they come from a home with two loving parents. It may be tougher to do so if they are unmarried.