AUM study shows number of children born out of wedlock growing - - The News for South Mississippi

AUM study shows number of children born out of wedlock growing

(Source: MGN) (Source: MGN)

According to a study conducted by Auburn University at Montgomery, out-of-wedlock births are on the rise in Alabama.

The AUM Center for Demographic Research's "2014 Alabama Kids Data Sheet" shows that nearly half of the live births, 42.6 percent, registered in the state in 2012 were from unmarried women. That number is an increase from the 41.9 percent that was registered in 2010.

Counties such as Macon, Wilcox, Sumter, Dallas, Lowndes, Perry and Greene saw at least seven out of ten children were born to unmarried women in 2012. Shelby County had the lowest rate at 17.7 percent, followed by Winston County at 24.2 percent and Blount at 24.7 percent. Montgomery County had a rate of 58.1 percent of births from unmarried women.

"Such high rates of birth to unmarried women is partly the result of economic hardship," said Yanyi Djamba, director of the AUM Center for Demographic Research and leading author of the report. "Counties with higher rates of out-of-wedlock births tend to have lower household income and higher unemployment rates, two important factors of marriage and social mobility."

Alabama's state population under the age of five is also on the decline, due to lower birth rates registered in the last several years. More than 67.2 percent of the counties in Alabama registered a decline in the percent of population below the age of 5 between 2010 and 2012. Lamar County tops the list, followed by Cleburne and Bibb County. Counties that are more urban, such as Jefferson, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, registered a slight increase in the last few years.

Other areas on the data sheet are improving however, such as the state's first grade retention which is now at 4.4 percent, up from 3.8 percent in 2010. The 2012 high school graduation rate is at 75.2 percent, an increase from the 71.8 percent reported in 2011. There is also a slight decline in the percent of low weight births in the state for the 2010-2012 period.

For a copy of the "2014 Alabama Kids Data Sheet," contact Anna Ganey at the Center for Demographic Research at 334-244-3463, or

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