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/// 11/23/2010

The number of unmarried women who became mothers between June 2007 and June 2008 reached four million, according to a November 4, 2010 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Of those four million women, 28 percent were living with a partner. The report, Fertility of American Women: 2008, included in its percentage of cohabitating mothers, mothers who were separated as well as those who were married with an absent spouse. The North Carolina divorce attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt present these findings to emphasize the need for women, especially women with children, to protect themselves from the legal and financial burdens that can result from a separation or if living with children in an unmarried cohabitation relationship. While the report pointed out that the number of average births for women between the ages of 40 and 44 declined from 3.1 births per woman 30 years ago to 1.9`births per woman, the lawyers of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt explain that even a single child will impact a woman’s finances and require support, regardless of the parents’ relationship status.

According to Jane Dye, author of Fertility of American Women: 2008, “The report shows that many unmarried new moms are not raising their child alone.” The study found that Hispanic and black women had the highest levels of fertility, with 2.1 children born per woman, which was followed by non-Hispanic whites and Asians, with 1.8 births each. The report utilized data from the June 2008 Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). The CPS data provided a historical perspective which was used to deduce the reduced rates in childbearing. The ACS data focused on current fertility experiences of women from 2007 to 2008.

The ACS data further provided insight into the effects the economic recession has had on mothers with newborns seeking employment. According to the report, “Nationwide, 6 percent of mothers with newborns were unemployed in 2008.” States with the highest levels of unemployment for new mothers included Alabama and Michigan. The report further noted that the proportion of new mothers in the workforce increased from 57 percent in 2006 to 61 percent in 2008.

While employment levels of new mothers have risen, the existence of poverty among them remains overwhelming. On a national level, one in four new mothers lived in poverty between 2007 and 2008. The highest levels of new mothers living in poverty were found in Montana, West Virginia and the southwestern and southern states spanning from Arizona to South Carolina.

The North Carolina family attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt submit these findings to shed light on the current status of