Nearly half of U.S. men without a high school education have fathered a child outside of marriage, compared to about 6 percent of college graduates, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
The survey, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics includes detailed information on sex, marriage and parenthood from young men for the first time.
It finds that 47 percent of men and 58 percent of women aged 15 to 44 have ever had a child, inside or outside marriage.
Premarital sex is OK, according to the 60 percent of men in this age group who agreed or strongly agreed that it was “all right for unmarried 18-year-olds to have sexual relations if they have strong affection for each other.”
Fifty-one percent of women and girls aged 15 to 44 approved of premarital sex at the age of 18.
The study is based on a analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth conducted in 2002 among 7,643 females and 4,928 males.
It found that 77 percent of men had sexual intercourse before the age of 20, and close to 30 percent by age 16.
The in-person survey found one-third of men marry by the age of 25 and almost two-thirds marry by 30. Half of women are married by the time they are 25 and three-quarters by age 30 and they tend to marry men who are, on average, two years older.
The report found that 50 percent of young men who married before the age of 20 ended up divorced within 10 years compared with 17 percent of men who married at 26 years or older.
And about 70 percent of men and women who were currently living together but not married thought there was a “pretty good” or “almost certain” chance that they would marry their current partner.
Young black men were twice as likely as whites to father a child young — 25 percent of non-Hispanic black fathers had their first child before they were 20, compared to 19 percent of Hispanic fathers and 11 percent of non-Hispanic white men.
But the young men often step up to the responsibility — close to 75 percent of the 28 million men who father children before age 19 live with their children.
Based on what the fathers said, 65 percent of babies born in the five years before the survey were wanted at the time of conception, 25 percent were mistimed, and 9 percent were unwanted at the time of conception.
“According to women’s reports, 65 percent of births in the five years before the survey were wanted at the time of conception, 21 percent weremistimed, and 14 percent were unwanted,” according to the report, published at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs.
[31May06, Reuters, Maggie Fox,hhttp://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2006-05-31T190849Z_01_N31242565_RTRUKOC_0_US-LIFE-FATHERS-USA.xml&src=rss&rpc=22]USA.xml&src=rss&rpc=22ttp://today.reuters.com/news/newsaSA.xml&src=rss&rpc=22