A new study from the Census people showed that Myrtle Beach ranked 4th in the nation in the number of unmarried women giving birth. 4th in the nation! We've been in a lot of top 10 lists in my time, but that's not one I've ever heard before and it's not one to brag about. The ranking is bad enough, but when you look at the actual numbers, it's even worse. The national average is about 1 out of every 3 births being out of wedlock. In the Myrtle Beach metro....it's 2 of every 3. Why is this happening? I don't have any specifics...but here are a few possibilities. One of these by themselves wouldn't be enough to catapult MB to this level...so it has to be a combination of several.
1) Looking at a map of the states where the unwed birth rates went up, down or stayed the same....a majority of the rates that went up were in the 'bible belt'...from North Carolina to Louisiana and everything in between. I contend that in lots of these states, kids are being taught abstinance-only, rather than being taught contraception. Which is dumb.
2) A listener contends that also since we're in the bible belt, the abortion rate would be less...leading to more kids.
3) The fact that being a single mom doesn't have the stigma attached to it that it had just a generation ago.
4) Some couples want to have kids before...or instead of...getting married
5) A large influx of immigrants
6) if you're getting government money....more kids equal more money, while getting married cuts your government check considerably
7) Access to adequate healthcare
8) Lack of education
But why Myrtle Beach? It's not rural, it has good schools...why? Is it just the perfect storm of several factors getting together and putting us high on this list? Personally it doesn't bother me one bit if you're a single mom, unmarried parents or happily married as long as the children are being taken care of. I'm just kind of a stat geek and when I see something like this, it makes me wonder why.
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