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Rising Illegitimacy a Factor in Social Problems

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Thursday, April 19, 2001

Rising Illegitimacy a Factor in Social Problems

Anyone looking for the causes of social breakdown, tension and turmoil should consider this.

In 1999, 1.3 million babies were born out of wedlock. That's a record and the first time that a full one-third of all U.S. births were to unwed mothers, according to government figures.

The black birth rate is close to 80 percent. Some had hoped that welfare reform, which made reducing illegitimacy a primary goal, might have helped bring adult parents together, but the figures show otherwise.

The National Center for Health Statistics says a major reason unwed births have hit a new high is that the number of single women who are of childbearing age has also grown. But there is a loss of stigma attached to unwed motherhood, especially when all mothers with no husbands are called by the nonjudgmental term "single moms." There is no such thing as a "single mom." One is either married, or divorced, or an out-of-wedlock mother. Such are the times in which we live, which contribute to the very things that undermine our society.