Single motherhood and low birthweight in Spain: the role of the changing sociodemographic profile of unmarried mothers in narrowing social inequalities

Teresa Castro Martin, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Nonmarital childbearing is becoming an increasingly common path to family formation in Spain. The proportion of births to unmarried mothers has increased from 2% in 1975 to 28.4% in 2006. Along with this marked increase, there has been an important shift in the socio-demographic profile of nonmarital fertility: a growing proportion of nonmarital births are born to women older than 30, are second or third order births, are born in households where their unmarried parents live together or are legally acknowledged by non-resident fathers. The objectives of this paper are: (a) to document the recent increase in out-of-wedlock childbearing in Spain within the context of other family related changes; (b) to describe the changing socio-demographic profile of unmarried mothers; (c) to examine differentials in low birthweight between marital and nonmarital births; and (d) to explore whether the changing profile of nonmarital childbearing has contributed to diminishing perinatal health inequalities.

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Presented in Session 116: Children living outside of marriage: issues and implications