(The Wall Street Journal) Nearly a quarter of highly educated women in their mid-30s had their first babies outside marriage, according to new research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study, conducted by Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin, found that nonmarital childbearing has increased significantly among women of all educational levels over the past quarter-century. Yet the sharpest increase has been among women who hold a bachelor’s degree or more. About 24.5% of them ages 32 to 38 weren’t married when they had their first babies, according to surveys from 2017-2018. That is a sixfold increase from 1996, when the share was 4% for that group.