Flagstaff, Arizona, had the highest share of new mothers that were unmarried and Cheyenne, Wyoming, had the lowest.

We've heard these stats before: lower education levels, income, and age are all correlated to higher rates of single mothers. A U.S. Census report released today suggests geography may play a role as well.

The report [PDF] analyzes 2011 American Community Survey data, and charts the percentage of women (between the ages of 15 and 50) who had babies between January 2010 and December 2011 who were also unmarried. The metropolitan areas in the map below are color-coded based on their deviation from the norm (35.7 percent of new mothers nationally). Purple metros have "significantly higher" rates of unwed new mothers than the national average and green have "significantly lower."

Flagstaff, Arizona had the highest share of new mothers that were unmarried (74.6 percent) and Cheyenne, Wyoming had the lowest (4.7 percent). (Complete results are available here.) There are of course a few caveats that the Census points out. First of all, having a baby during that particular timeframe is a "relatively rare event" and the data "can be quite variable," so the margins of error on these rate estimates are fairly high and the differences between some metros, say Flagstaff and Greenville, North Carolina at 69.4 percent, is not statistically different. Also, the survey asked if women were unmarried at the time of the survey, not at the time of the birth, and also tracked where the mother was living then as well, not where she had her child.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Inside a Commuter Rail Comeback in Hartford

    Connecticut’s new Hartford Line isn’t just a train: It’s supposed to be an engine for the capital city’s post-industrial transformation.

  2. A view of traffic near Los Angeles.
    Transportation

    How Cars Divide America

    Car dependence not only reduces our quality of life, it’s a crucial factor in America’s economic and political divisions.

  3. Equity

    Bike Advocacy’s Blind Spot

    The biking community is overwhelmingly concerned with infrastructure. For urban anthropologist Adonia Lugo, that’s an equity problem.

  4. Life

    Don’t Throw It Away—Take It to the Repair Cafe

    This series of workshops aims to keep broken items out of the landfill, and it might help you save a few bucks, too.

  5. Equity

    CityLab University: Inclusionary Zoning

    You’ve seen the term. But do you really know what it means? Here’s your essential primer.