Census Bureau: One in Five New Moms Live in Someone Else’s Home

August 5, 2014 - 3:30 PM

 

Baby and mother

(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) -- More than one in five women who gave birth in 2012 reported living in someone else’s home instead of their own household, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau (CB).

In some states, such as New Mexico and Mississippi, the percentage was even higher, with one in three new mothers living with her child in another person’s home.

That could help explain why only six percent of all women who recently gave birth were on public assistance, the same percentage as before the start of the 2008 recession, according to the Census Bureau.

There are no statistics available on the marital status of new mothers who are living in someone else’s home, but of the four million babies born in 2012, 1.6 million were born to unwed mothers. Twenty years ago, half of all births to women ages 15-22 occurred in wedlock, but since then that number has been reduced to just a quarter.

Kaylee Azila is one of the 400,000 women who were staying at a friend's or relative’s home when their baby was born. When Kaylee found out she was pregnant, she said she knew that “my job at Target wasn't good enough for me to get my own place, so my parents let me stay over.”

Kaylee currently resides in Virginia with her own mother, her brother and her two children, who are five years and one month old. She is working at Carter’s now, but eventually plans to continue her education. “I would like to get a better job, go to college and get my own place,” Kaylee told CNSNews.com, “maybe when the baby is like, five months.”

Though women of all ages report not having their own domiciles, 60 percent of mothers ages 15-22 live in someone else’s home, with the vast majority of them (70 percent) living with their parents, according to the CB study, which was based on the 2012 Supplement to the Current Population Survey and the 2012 American Community Survey.

Though teen births continue to decrease, the CB study notes that “adolescent parenthood continues to be linked to poverty, low academic achievement, and familial instability. Additional evidence suggests that many of the negative repercussions of adolescent pregnancy are present for women in their early 20s, such as the need to rely on their parents for housing."

As with teenage mothers, pregnancies for young single women in their early 20s are often unintended, and occur before they have had time to complete their educational goals, which may affect their ability to be financially self-sufficient.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly salary greatly increases for each level of education attained. High school dropouts over the age of 25 earn $472 a week; high school graduates earn $651; and those with some college or an associate’s degree earn around $750.

Thirty-two percent of  recent moms reported having some college or an associates degree, while 23 percent of all births in 2012 were to women with only a high school diploma. Another 15 percent were born to women who did not finish high school, the Census Bureau reported.

Though some single mothers who live in their parents' home lack educational credentials, others do so for reasons other than financial.

Sarah Hill was in her late 30s and working towards a graduate degree when she learned she was pregnant with twins. “I decided to save my tuition money and so to say ‘I’m going back home where I’m safe,’ because I really wanted the pregnancy,” she told CNSNews.com.

Because of her high-risk pregnancy, she moved back home to be closer to a good doctor as well as for the support of her mother, who was by her side when her newborn son passed away.

”I lost my daughter’s twin after 12 days,” she explained. “I had to disconnect him from life support. You're lucky to have a supportive family if there’s trauma related to a pregnancy.”

Sarah currently works caring for antique heirlooms and fine linen, the same kind of job she had before the birth of her daughter, Charlotte.  “In America we think we can do it all, but when you have kids and you want more education you just have to make choices,” she told CNSNews.com.

The CB survey noted that “women with a non-marital birth are more likely to be poor, and their children are more likely to spend time in a single-parent family,” even if they are cohabiting with the child’s father at the time of their child’s birth.

Data also indicates a not-so-bright future relationship status for the mother if her first birth does not occur within marriage. “Researchers have found that women with a non-marital first birth are both less likely to ever marry and less likely to remain married if they do marry,” the CB report says.

Children and communities bear the brunt of the growing number of out-of- wedlock births, says Brad Wilcox, a sociologist and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

“Many kids that are born outside of marriage do just fine,” he said, “but when large numbers of kids are born outside marriage as a consequence what we see is that the community and the country at large suffer.”

In his work he has found that “where single parent families are concentrated, we know there are hundreds of thousands of more acts of delinquency, we see less opportunity for children, they're less likely to climb the economic ladder, we see more crime and we see that schools are facing greater difficulty in educating those kids.”