Evolution of the Un-Wed Mother

Carol Jean Obergfell, Dominican University of California


According to the National Vital Statistics System, since the 1980’s, there has been a dramatic increase of unmarried pregnancies, close to an 80% increase. Drawing predominantly on historical information, and interviews with a multi-generational group of unmarried mothers, my research will show that although there are socio-economic factors which contribute to this phenomenon, the overwhelming factor is the increase in individualism, and that over the decades, unmarried women have evolved. With the release of societal pressures that once deemed them “fallen women” they no longer feel that they have to be married in order to provide a good life for their children.