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Health Indicator Report of Maternal Marital Status

Nonmarital births are at higher risk of having adverse birth outcomes such as low birthweight, preterm birth, and infant mortality than are children born to married women.[ ^1^] Children born to single mothers typically have more limited social and financial resources.[ ^2^]

Births to Unmarried Mothers by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2016


Hudson, Salem, and Warren Counties each have a large proportion (> 15%) of records missing mother's marital status, so records with unknown status were removed from the denominator for all counties. Interpret with caution.

Data Sources

  • Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health
  • National Vital Statistics Reports, NCHS, CDC


Marital status was determined by response to the following questions on the birth certificate: For years 1970-1978 - Legitimate? For years 1979-1988 - Is mother married? For years after 1988 - Mother married? (At birth, conception, or any time between)


Number of live births to unmarried mothers


Total number of live births (For some views, records with unknown marital status were removed from the denominator and are indicated in the Data Notes below those views.)

How Are We Doing?

The percentage of births to unmarried mothers (nonmarital birth rate) had been steadily increasing for several decades but peaked around 2010 and has been slowly declining since then. The rates among Blacks and Hispanics are more than triple the rate among Whites, and the White rate is about 5 times the rate among Asians. Among those aged 25-44, the nonmarital birth rate in 2016 was double the rate in 1990. Although the largest increase over time was seen among foreign-born mothers, infants born to mothers native to U.S. territories (predominantly Puerto Rico) still have the highest nonmarital birth rate. Nonmarital birth rates range from 14% in Hunterdon to 63% in Cumberland County.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Since 1985, the nonmarital birth rate among New Jersey residents has been below that of the nation as a whole. Currently, the rate is 20% lower in New Jersey than in the U.S. as a whole.
Page Content Updated On 04/19/2018, Published on 04/19/2018
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sat, 22 September 2018 4:43:09 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 4 Sep 2018 05:00:56 EDT