Sexes: Black and White, Unwed All Over

Illegitimacy soars as the stigma against it declines

The news was not startling. The statistics were. According to federal figures, illegitimate births increased so rapidly in the 1970s that 17% of U.S. babies—one out of every six—are now born out of wedlock. In 1979, the last year for which statistics are available, an estimated 597,000 illegitimate babies were born, up 50% since 1970. Nationwide nearly a third of the babies born to white teen-agers and 83% born to black teens were illegitimate.

Blacks account for more than half of all illegitimate births, but the...

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