Pamela Smock

Pamela SmockThe American family is changing, and the biggest change is the number of women having babies outside marriage. That’s what ISR researcher Pamela Smock told Michigan Radio’s Cynthia Canty in a Nov. 18 interview on Stateside. Once the sexual revolution removed the stigma attached to premarital sex, new family structures began to emerge. Now more than 40 percent of births occur outside marriage, Smock told Canty, and a majority of those are born to cohabiting couples. “The connection between childbearing and marriage… sort of got decoupled, so people were more accepting of different kinds of family formation patterns,” Smock said. Some 70 percent of people who get married live together first, she said, and that figure is likely to rise to 80 percent, with only those with strict religious convictions not cohabiting. Smock’s research appeared in an article on the evolving American family featured in ISR’s Sampler newsletter and in Michigan Today.