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Unmarried and Living Together: The Parenting Trend That's On the Rise

New parents
Fewer children are being born into single-parent homes in the United States, but that doesn't mean what you might think it does. The number of couples who aren't married but who live together is steadily increasing, according to new data from the CDC's National Survey of Family Growth.

From 2011 to 2013, 25.9 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 (defined as "child-bearing age") who gave birth were cohabiting—that's close to double the rate from just 10 years earlier, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Many couples choose to remain unwed to avoid rushing into marriage, and in hopes of becoming financially stable as individuals before tying the knot—especially if the pregnancy is unplanned. Also, research shows that the "earnings of less-educated American men have fallen in recent decades, while education levels have risen among women, making marriage less attractive economically for women," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Americans who are well-educated and wealthy still tend to marry before having kids, while single mothers are most common in low-income environments.

Although the rate of single mothers has also dropped from 21.3 percent to 18 percent over the past decade, many sociologists are worried about the increase in cohabiting parents. Compared to married couples, cohabiting couples are more likely to separate and may be less financially secure.

So while cohabiting may appear to be the most modern parenting solution, in many cases, it still lacks the security that marriage provides.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She's a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

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