[Background Material and Data on Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means (Green Book)]
[Appendix M. Data on Nonmarital Births to Adults and Teenagers and Federal Strategies to Reduce Nonmarital Pregnancies]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]



Nonmarital Births in the United States
  Illegitimacy Ratio
  Birth Rate for Unmarried Women
  Interstate Variation
  Marriage and Birth Rate for Married Women
  Births to Teenagers
Federal Strategies to Reduce Nonmarital Pregnancies
  Nonmarital Birth Provisions in the 1996 Welfare Reform Law
  Nonmarital Birth Provisions in the Child Support Enforcement 


    In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an Assistant 
Secretary in the Department of Labor, published a government 
document arguing that black Americans were being held back 
economically and socially in large part because their family 
structure was deteriorating. More specifically, by that time, 
one-quarter of black children were born outside marriage. The 
results of these nonmarital births and fatherless childrearing 
were, according to Moynihan, catastrophic. Although Moynihan's 
report caused an outpouring of rebuttal and even invective 
(Rainwater & Yancey, 1967), the decades since the report have 
revealed with great clarity the perspicacity of Moynihan's 
vision. Today nearly one-third of all American children are 
born outside marriage, and the ratio for black children has 
reached the remarkable level of 70 percent. As the illegitimacy 
ratio among white children climbed past the ratio that 
characterized blacks when Moynihan wrote his original report, 
in 1993 Charles Murray wrote a similar report in the Wall 
Street Journal about the crisis in nonmarital births among 
whites. Unlike the 1965 Moynihan report, the Murray report was 
greeted by widespread acceptance and increased concern that 
progress against poverty and its accompanying misery could only 
be achieved if the tide of nonmarital births was halted.
    In this appendix, we review the trends in various measures 
of nonmarital childbearing and discuss the numerous policies, 
especially those contained in the 1996 welfare reform law 
(Public Law 104-193), that the Congress has enacted to fight 
both the frequency of illegitimacy and its effects.


    Data on nonmarital births are usually expressed by three 
measures: the number of nonmarital births, the ratio of all 
births that are nonmarital to total births, and the rate of 
nonmarital births per 1,000 total births. Table M-1 shows all 
three measures, as well as the birth rate per 1,000 married 
women aged 15-44, for selected years from 1950 to 1998. These 
figures show that although the overall birth rate for married 
women has been declining in recent decades, there has been a 
very substantial increase in all three measures of 

                                Births to unmarried
                              ----------------------              Birth
                                              Rate    Ratio of     rate
                                              (per   nonmarital    for
             Year                            1,000    births to  married
                                  Number     unwed   all births   women
                                             women                (aged
                                            aged 15-              15-44)
1998.........................    1,292,534       NA       32.8        NA
1997.........................    1,257,444     44.0       32.4      84.3
1996.........................    1,260,306     44.8       32.4      83.7
1995.........................    1,253,976     45.1       32.2      83.7
1994.........................    1,289,592     46.9       32.6      83.8
1993.........................    1,240,172     45.3       31.0      86.8
1992.........................    1,224,876     45.2       30.1      89.0
1991.........................    1,213,769     45.2       29.5      89.9
1990.........................    1,165,384     43.8       28.0      93.2
1989.........................    1,094,169     41.6       27.1      91.9
1988.........................    1,005,299     38.5       25.7      90.8
1987.........................      933,013     36.0       24.5      90.0
1986.........................      878,477     34.2       23.4      90.7
1985.........................      828,174     32.8       22.0      93.3
1980.........................      665,747     29.4       18.4      97.0
1970.........................      398,700     26.4       10.7     121.1
1960.........................      224,300     21.6        5.3     156.6
1950.........................      141,600     14.1        3.9     141.0
NA--Not available.

Source: Ventura et al. (1999); 1950 and 1960 data, various U.S. Census
  Bureau documents.

                           Illegitimacy Ratio

    The ratio of nonmarital births to all births increased 
almost every year from 1950 through 1994, but has more or less 
leveled off since then. In 1950, the percent of births to 
unmarried women was 3.9; by 1994 it had risen to 32.6. But the 
ratio changed only slightly in the next 4 years, dropping to 
32.2 percent in 1995, rising to 32.4 percent in 1996, remaining 
at that level in 1997, and increasing to 32.8 percent in 1998 
(table M-1).
    During the period 1950-60, the ratio increased 36 percent; 
from 1960-70, it increased 102 percent; from 1970-80, it 
increased 72 percent; from 1980-90, it increased 52 percent; 
and from 1990-98, it increased 17 percent. Thus, the time of 
greatest increase in the illegitimacy ratio was the period 
1960-80; the rate of increase has been declining since roughly 
1980. Adolescent pregnancy, declining marriage rates, and more 
childbearing among unmarried women relative to married women 
have contributed to the relatively high proportion of children 
being born to unwed mothers. The illegitimacy ratio has changed 
little since 1994 even though the rate of births for unmarried 
women has declined because births to married women have also 
    The illegitimacy ratio varies considerably by race and 
ethnicity. In 1997, the ratio was 32.4 percent for unmarried 
women of all races; 21.5 percent for non-Hispanic white women; 
40.9 percent for Hispanic women; and 69.4 percent for non-
Hispanic black women (Ventura et al., 1999, p. 45).

                     Birth Rate for Unmarried Women

    The illegitimacy rate is the number of births to unmarried 
women in a given year per 1,000 unmarried women ages 15-44. The 
illegitimacy rate has increased substantially since 1970, 
although like the illegitimacy ratio, it has declined slightly 
since 1994. Thus, between 1970 and 1994, the rate increased 
from 26.4 to 46.9 before falling slightly to 44.0 in 1997. Over 
the entire period 1970-97, the birth rate for unmarried women 
increased by 67 percent.
    Birth rates for unmarried women also vary considerably by 
race and ethnicity. In 1997, the rates were 44.0 for women of 
all races; 27 for non-Hispanic white women; 73.4 for non-
Hispanic black women; and 91.4 for Hispanic women. Between 1990 
and 1997, the birth rate for all unmarried women increased by 
less than 1 percent, but the rate for unmarried non-Hispanic 
white women increased nearly 11 percent while the rate for 
unmarried non-Hispanic black women dropped by 19 percent. The 
rate for unmarried Hispanic women increased only 2 percent 
(Ventura et al., 1999, pp. 43-44).

                          Interstate Variation

    According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 
births to unmarried women increased from 1996 to 1997 in 32 
States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, and 
decreased in 18 States and the District of Columbia. Similarly, 
the percent of births to unmarried women also increased in 32 
States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, and 
decreased in 15 States and the District of Columbia; it 
remained unchanged in 3 States (Ventura et al., 1999, pp. 8-9).

               Marriage and Birth Rate for Married Women

    Both the marriage rate and the birth rate for married women 
generally have been declining since 1970. During the period 
1970-97, the marriage rate per 1,000 population dropped 16 
percent, from 10.6 to 8.9 (National Center for Health 
Statistics, 1995, 1999). Moreover, the median age of women at 
first marriage has risen by 16 percent to 24.0 in 1990 from 
20.6 in 1970. Concurrent with the decrease in marriage and the 
increase in the birth rate for unmarried women over the 1970-97 
period, the birth rate for married women has generally 
declined. In 1970, there were 121.1 births per 1,000 married 
women aged 15-44. By 1997, the birth rate for married women had 
dropped by 30 percent, falling to 84.3 (see table M-1).
    Census Bureau data also show a decline in the propensity of 
women to marry before the birth of a premaritally conceived 
child (Bachu, 1999). Hence, in the early 1960s, 60 percent of 
pregnant women married before the birth of their child, thereby 
avoiding an out-of-wedlock birth. Since that time, the 
propensity to marry before the baby is born has fallen 
consistently, reaching 49 percent in the early 1970s, 29 
percent in the early 1980s, and just 23 percent in the early 

                          Births to Teenagers

    In 1996, an estimated 905,000 teenagers (married and 
unmarried) became pregnant; approximately 128,000 had 
miscarriages, 274,000 had legal abortions, and 503,000 gave 
birth (Henshaw, 1999). About 494,000 of the 3,950,000 (12.5 
percent) U.S. births in 1998 were to teens. Although the number 
of teenagers who marry has always been low, the proportion 
dropped from 10 percent in 1970 to less than 5 percent in 1997. 
Moreover, relatively fewer women in all age groups are married 
nowadays. Consequently, while most births to teenagers are 
nonmarital (79 percent in 1998), teenagers do not account for 
the majority of all births to unmarried women. In 1998, births 
to teenagers comprised only 30 percent of the nearly 1.3 
million births to unmarried females. By contrast, in 1970 they 
comprised 50 percent of the 398,700 births to unmarried females 
(table M-2).
    It is also noteworthy that the birth patterns of unmarried 
women indicate that about half of them had their first child as 
a teenager. Moreover, in 1998 22 percent of teenage births were 
second or higher-order births (Moore, 1999). These two facts 
have led some analysts to contend that unless welfare reform or 
other efforts are successful in modifying the behaviors that 
result in a relatively high proportion of births to unwed 
teenagers, associated problems such as delinquency, school 
failure, and reliance on welfare will persist.
National trends
    The number of births to teens declined by: almost 17 
percent from 1960 to 1998; 25 percent from 1970 to 1998; 12 
percent from 1980 to 1998; and 7 percent from 1990 to 1998. The 
number of births to teens was 593,746 in 1960 and had dropped 
to 494,456 by 1998.

                           TABLE M-2.--BIRTHS TO UNMARRIED WOMEN BY AGE, 1970 AND 1998
                                                                          1970                     1998
                              Age                                            Percent of               Percent of
                                                                 Nonmarital  nonmarital   Nonmarital  nonmarital
                                                                   births      births       births      births
 Under age 15.................................................        9,500        2.4         9,152        0.7
Ages 15-19....................................................      190,400       47.8       380,569       29.4
Ages 20-24....................................................      126,700       31.8            NA         NA
Ages 25-29....................................................       40,600       10.2            NA         NA
Ages 30-34....................................................       19,100        4.8            NA         NA
Ages 35-39....................................................        9,400        2.4            NA         NA
Age 40 and older..............................................        3,000        0.8            NA         NA
    Total, all ages...........................................      398,700      100.0     1,292,534      100.0
NA--Not available.

Note.--The 1998 birth data are disaggregated by age only for births to adolescents. Details may not add to
  totals due to rounding.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics (1970); Ventura et al. (1999).

    In 1970, teens (15-19 years of age) gave birth at the rate 
of 68.3 per 1,000 teens, whereas in 1998 teens gave birth at a 
rate of 51.1 per 1,000. After increasing sharply during the 
late 1980s, birth rates for teenagers declined every year from 
1991 to 1998. Although the teen pregnancy rate, birth rate, and 
abortion rate have all declined since 1991, the U.S. teen birth 
rate is still far above that of most industrialized countries 
(Alan Guttmacher, 2000a, 2000b).
    During the period 1991-96, the pregnancy rate for teenagers 
15-19 dropped from a high of 116.5 per 1,000 teenagers to 98.7. 
Similarly, the birth rate dropped from 62.1 in 1991 to 54.4 in 
1996 and to 51.1 in 1998. Moreover, the abortion rate for 
teenagers has fallen fairly steadily since the late 1980s. For 
example, the abortion rate for 15- to 19-year-olds dropped from 
37.6 in 1991 to 29.2 in 1996, a drop of over 20 percent. 
Because the teen pregnancy rate, birth rate, and abortion rate 
have all declined since 1991, the total decline in the teen 
birth rate cannot be attributed solely to an increase in 
abortions by teens. The teen pregnancy rate fell by 15 percent 
between 1991 and 1996 and the abortion rate by 22 percent. 
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (1998), 
the declines in birth and pregnancy rates for teenagers since 
1991 reflect a stabilization and reduction in the proportion of 
teenagers who have ever had sex, a fall in the proportion of 
teenagers who are sexually active at a given time, and an 
increase in the likelihood that teenagers use contraceptives 
(see also Child Trends, undated). Others attribute the declines 
in teen birth rates in part to teens' adopting a more 
conservative attitude about engaging in sexual activity before 
marriage and their fear of contracting AIDS or other sexually 
transmitted diseases (National Governors', 2000; Alan 
Guttmacher, 2000a; Child Trends, undated).
Ethnic differences
    Since 1991, birth rates have declined for white, black, 
American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Hispanic 
adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19. The greatest decline 
in teen birth rates occurred among black teens, for whom rates 
were down 26 percent over the period from 1991 to 1998. 
Specifically, birth rates for black teenagers declined from 
115.5 per 1,000 in 1991 to 85.3 in 1998. For Hispanic 
teenagers, birth rates declined by 12 percent between 1991 and 
1998, from 106.7 to 93.7. However, despite the general decline 
in teenage birth rates for all races and persons of Hispanic 
origin, birth rates for black and Hispanic teenagers continue 
to be substantially higher than for other ethnic groups. As 
compared with the black and Hispanic rates of 85.3 and 93.7 per 
1,000 respectively, non-Hispanic white teens gave birth at a 
rate of only 35.2 per 1,000 and Asian or Pacific Islanders were 
lower still at 23.1 per 1,000 (National Center for Health 
Statistics, 1999).
State trends
    Birth rates for teens 15-19 vary considerably from State to 
State. In 1997, the lowest reported rate by a State was 26.9 
per 1,000 in Vermont; the highest was Mississippi at 73.7, 
although the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico had rates of 
106.3 and 77.8 respectively. Despite this variability, between 
1991 and 1997, a reduction in the rate of births among teens 
aged 15-19 was observed in all 50 States, the District of 
Columbia, and the Virgin Islands (teen birth rates increased in 
Guam and Puerto Rico). In 10 States and the District of 
Columbia, the rate was down by more than 20 percent. Overall, 
declines ranged from 9 percent in Arkansas, Delaware, and Texas 
to 32 percent in Alaska (National Center for Health Statistics, 
Financial and social costs of teen births
    The Robin Hood Foundation (Maynard, 1996) estimates that 
adolescent childbearing costs the U.S. taxpayer about $6.9 
billion per year; more specifically, welfare and food stamp 
benefits, $2.2 billion; medical care expenses, $1.5 billion; 
spending on incarceration (for the teen sons of women who had 
them as adolescents), $1 billion; foster care placements, $0.9 
billion; and lost tax revenue because of work patterns of 
fathers, $1.3 billion. Research also indicates that teens who 
give birth are less likely to complete high school and go on to 
college, thereby reducing their potential for economic self-
sufficiency. For the children of teens, research indicates that 
they are more likely to experience problems in school, are more 
likely to drop out of high school, and as adults are more 
likely to repeat the cycle of teenage pregnancy, poverty, and 
welfare use (U.S. Department, 1995; Maynard, 1996; National 
Governors', 2000).



    In recognition of the negative, long-term consequences 
associated with nonmarital births and the long-term costs to 
society, the prevention of childbearing outside marriage has 
been identified by Congress as a major national goal. Although 
birth rates for teens have dropped in recent years, they remain 
higher than they were in the mid-80s. Similarly, although the 
overall illegitimacy ratio has stabilized, it is still at an 
extraordinarily high level, especially for minorities.
    Moreover, U.S. teen birth rates are much higher than the 
rates of other industrialized nations; they are 2 and 13 times, 
respectively, those of England and Japan. The diversity in teen 
birth rates across industrialized countries in 1995 ranged from 
a low of 4 births per 1,000 teens aged 15-19 in Japan to 56 in 
Armenia, with the U.S. rate near the top at 54.4 (Alan 
Guttmacher, 2000a, 2000b).
    In an attempt to ameliorate some of the social and 
financial costs of nonmarital births even before the 1996 
welfare reform law, the Federal Government funded a variety of 
teenage pregnancy prevention programs. These include: family 
planning, created in 1970 as title X of the Public Health 
Services Act; the Adolescent Family Life Program, created in 
1981 as title XX of the Public Health Services Act; the 
Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, created in 1981 
as title V of the Social Security Act; the Medicaid Program, 
created in 1965 as title XIX of the Social Security Act, and 
which includes 90 percent Federal matching funds for family 
planning services (e.g., patient counseling and education 
concerning pregnancy prevention and reproductive health, 
including birth control); and the Social Services Block Grant, 
created in 1981 as title XX of the Social Security Act.

       Nonmarital Birth Provisions in the 1996 Welfare Reform Law

    Despite these programs already in the law, the 1996 welfare 
reform law (Public Law 104-193), and especially the Temporary 
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant in title I of 
the law, included many new provisions designed to reduce 
nonmarital births. In fact, one of the four goals of the law 
was the prevention and reduction of out-of-wedlock pregnancies. 
In addition, the law contained many other provisions aimed at 
focusing the Nation's attention and State and Federal policy on 
reducing nonmarital pregnancies.
    The findings section of the 1996 law notes the increase in 
out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births, asserts that an 
effective strategy to combat teenage pregnancy must address the 
issue of male responsibility, and lists some of the negative 
consequences of out-of-wedlock births on the mother, child, 
family, and society. This section of the law states that it is 
the ``sense of the Congress'' that prevention of out-of-wedlock 
pregnancy and reduction in out-of-wedlock births are very 
important government interests and that the policy contained in 
the TANF Program and in other provisions of the 1996 law are 
intended to initiate a national attack on nonmarital births.
    The purpose statement of the 1996 legislation stipulates in 
part that States should design their TANF Program to prevent 
and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and that 
States must establish annual numerical goals for preventing and 
reducing the incidence of such pregnancies.
State plan
    The TANF State plan must include an outline of how the 
State intends to establish goals and take action to prevent and 
reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, with 
special emphasis on teen pregnancies. States must also 
establish numerical goals for reducing their illegitimacy ratio 
for calendar years 1996-2005. Finally, the State is required to 
outline how it intends to conduct a program that provides 
education and training on the problem of statutory rape so that 
teenage pregnancy prevention programs may be expanded to 
include men, especially older males who prey on young women.
Bonus for decline in out-of-wedlock births
    For fiscal years 1999-2002, the 1996 law provides that cash 
bonuses be awarded to five States that have lower out-of-
wedlock birth rates than in preceding years and lower abortion 
rates than in fiscal year 1995. Under the law, the five States 
with both the greatest decline in out-of-wedlock birth rate and 
a reduced abortion rate are to receive a bonus of $20 million 
each. If fewer than five States qualify for the bonus, it is 
increased to $25 million. If Guam, the Virgin Islands, or 
American Samoa qualify for the bonus, they would be paid $1.172 
million, $889,000, and $250,000, respectively. These payments 
would not affect the number of other jurisdictions that could 
receive the bonus, but the $20 or $25 million paid to other 
qualifying States (including the District of Columbia and 
Puerto Rico) would be reduced pro rata. On September 13, 1999, 
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) awarded 
$100 million in bonuses to five jurisdictions for achieving the 
largest percentage reductions in out-of-wedlock birth rates 
between 1994 and 1997. The winners and their 1996-97 birth 
rates to unmarried women, followed by the percentage decline 
from their 1994-95 rates are: California, 30.4 percent, down 
5.7 percent; the District of Columbia, 64.9 percent, down 3.7 
percent; Michigan, 33.5 percent, down 3.4 percent; Alabama, 
33.8 percent, down 2 percent; and Massachusetts, 25.7 percent, 
down 1.5 percent. For the United States as a whole, the 
nonmarital birth rate for 1997 was virtually unchanged from 
1996 at 32.4 percent. In all, 12 jurisdictions achieved lower 
nonmarital birth rates in 1996-97 (table M-3). In the 43 
remaining jurisdictions, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto 
Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the rates increased by less than 
1 percent in 4 jurisdictions, by between 1 and 4 percent in 16 
jurisdictions, and by more than 4 percent in 23 jurisdictions. 
The lowest absolute rates in 1996-97 were registered by Utah 
(16.4 percent) and Idaho (21 percent), but both rates 
represented increases over the 2-year span. The highest 
absolute rates in 1996-97 were those of the Virgin Islands (66 
percent) and Washington, DC (64.9 percent).

                                                                    Percent of      Percent of      Percentage
                                                                     births to       births to      decline in
                              State                                  unmarried       unmarried      nonmarital
                                                                  women, 1994-95  women, 1996-97    birth rate
California......................................................            32.2            30.4            -5.7
District of Columbia............................................            67.4            64.9            -3.7
Michigan........................................................            34.7            33.5            -3.4
Alabama.........................................................            34.5            33.8            -2.0
Massachusetts...................................................            26.1            25.7            -1.5
Illinois........................................................            34.1            33.6            -1.5
Virginia........................................................            29.2            29.1            -0.6
Mississippi.....................................................            45.4            45.2            -0.4
Georgia.........................................................            35.3            35.2            -0.3
Pennsylvania....................................................            32.6            32.5            -0.2
Arizona.........................................................            38.3            38.2            -0.1
Maryland........................................................            33.5            33.5           -0.1
Source: Table prepared by the Congressional Research Service on the basis of data provided by the U.S.
  Department of Health and Human Services.

Bonus to reward high-performance States
    For each year of the 5 years from fiscal year 1999 to 
fiscal year 2003, the 1996 welfare reform law provides a bonus 
grant to States that are successful in meeting the goals of the 
TANF Program. A total of $1 billion is appropriated for these 
bonuses, which are to average $200 million annually. As 
mentioned earlier, one of the goals of the TANF Program is to 
prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies. 
However, the DHHS announced that the performance award for 
fiscal years 1999 and 2000 would be based only on State 
rankings of job entry and ``work force success'' measures. On 
December 4, 1999, DHHS announced the award of the first TANF 
high-performance bonuses totaling $200 million to 27 States. 
Also in December 1999, DHHS announced that beginning in 2002 
part of the bonus would be awarded to States with the largest 
increase in the percentage of children living in two-parent 
families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level. 
Although this measure does not provide a direct gauge of 
illegitimate births, it is at least an indirect indication of 
increases in marital births.
Certain minor mothers ineligible for TANF assistance
    The 1996 law specifies that a State may not use any part of 
the Federal TANF grant to provide assistance to unwed mothers 
under age 18 without a high school diploma or its equivalent 
unless they attend school or other equivalent educational or 
training program once their youngest child is 12 weeks old. The 
law also specifies that a State may not use any part of the 
Federal TANF grant to provide assistance to unwed mothers under 
age 18 or their children unless they live in the home of an 
adult relative or in another adult-supervised arrangement.
Abstinence education
    One of the most important illegitimacy policies adopted in 
the 1996 legislation was $250 million over 5 years in 
entitlement money for abstinence education. Sponsors of the 
provision wanted to be certain that every project funded by the 
abstinence education program was based on an unambiguous 
abstinence message. Programs could include information on birth 
control, but could not advocate its use. Rather, abstinence 
programs had to be based on several clear messages about 
abstinence, including: ``abstinence from sexual activity 
outside marriage [is] the expected standard for all school age 
children''; ``abstinence from sexual activity is the only 
certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually 
transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems''; 
and ``sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely 
to have harmful psychological and physical effects.''
    The abstinence education money was provided directly to the 
States. States were then required to devise a procedure for 
distributing the funds to qualifying projects. In 1998, the 
first year of the program, every State except California and 
New Hampshire had accepted the abstinence education funds and 
had awarded funding to local and statewide projects designed to 
promote abstinence. By 1999, New Hampshire elected to accept 
the abstinence education funds. Today, every State except 
California is sponsoring one or more abstinence education 
projects, many of which have received additional funding from 
the State or local level.
    In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress appropriated 
money for a scientific evaluation of the abstinence education 
projects. In competitive bidding, the Mathematica research 
company of Princeton, New Jersey won the contract to conduct 
the evaluation; Mathematica has now selected the evaluation 
sites and is expected to begin collecting data in 2000. Given 
the paucity of scientific information on the impacts of 
abstinence programs, it can be anticipated that sometime in 
2002 or 2003, results from the Mathematica evaluation will 
provide reliable information on whether abstinence programs 
have an impact on teens' attitudes toward sex, their sexual 
behavior, or their nonmarital birth rates.
Other provisions to reduce nonmarital births
    Family planning.--States are prohibited from using any part 
of the Federal TANF grant to provide medical services or 
abortions, but prepregnancy family planning is allowed as a use 
of TANF funds.
    Family cap.--Although there is no explicit provision in the 
1996 law, the block grant nature of the program allows States 
to deny additional TANF benefits for a new baby in a family 
already receiving TANF benefits. By 2000, 21 States had adopted 
some version of this policy, often called the ``family cap.''
    Ranking and review of States regarding out-of-wedlock 
births.--The Secretary of DHHS is directed to rank States in 
order of success in reducing the proportion of out-of-wedlock 
births and review the programs of the five States most recently 
ranked highest and the five States most recently ranked lowest 
(see table M-3).
    Report on circumstances of certain individuals.--The 
Secretary must report to four Committees of Congress annually, 
beginning on August 22, 1999, on specified matters about three 
groups: children whose families lost TANF eligibility because 
of a time limit, children born after enactment (i.e., August 
22, 1996) to teen parents, and persons who became teen parents 
after enactment. Among the specified matters is the rate at 
which the members of each group are born, or have children, 
out-of-wedlock, and the percentage of teens that are married. 
The Secretary has not yet issued this report.
    National goals to prevent teenage pregnancies.--The 
Secretary must also establish and implement, no later than 
January 1, 1997, a strategy for preventing out-of-wedlock 
teenage pregnancies. In response to this requirement, DHHS 
announced a teen pregnancy prevention strategy in January 1997 
called the ``national strategy to prevent out-of-wedlock teen 
pregnancies.'' The purpose of the national strategy is to 
ensure that at least 25 percent of communities in the United 
States have pregnancy prevention programs in place. DHHS is 
required by the 1996 law to report to the Congress by June 30 
of each year on progress made in implementing the national 
strategy. Created as a complementary approach to teen pregnancy 
prevention efforts mandated in the 1996 welfare reform 
legislation, the national strategy works under two main 
principles: to strengthen the national response to prevent out-
of-wedlock pregnancies by combining existing programs with 
emerging ones, and to support and encourage abstinence among 
adolescents (U.S. Department, 1998, 1999).
    Research on TANF Programs.--The Secretary is also required 
to conduct research on the benefits, effects, and costs of 
operating State TANF Programs. The research is to include the 
effects and operation of various programs on nonmarital births 
and teen pregnancy.
    Census Bureau report.--The U.S. Census Bureau must expand 
the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to obtain 
data with which to evaluate TANF's impact on a random sample of 
American families. One of the areas the Census Bureau is 
directed to include in this study is out-of-wedlock births. The 
law appropriates $10 million per year for each of fiscal years 
1996-2002 to pay for this major study.

  Nonmarital Birth Provisions in the Child Support Enforcement Program

    The 1996 law also contained the most powerful and far-
reaching reforms of the Child Support Enforcement Program ever 
enacted (see Section 8). Because strict child support 
enforcement has been shown to have a deterrent effect on 
nonmarital childbearing (Garfinkel et al., 1999), the child 
support provisions of the law were seen by Congress as another 
method of attempting to reduce illegitimacy.
    Perhaps the most direct provisions of the 1996 law that 
were expected to have an impact on nonmarital childbearing were 
the exceptionally strong paternity establishment requirements. 
If the State child support agency determines that a TANF 
recipient is not cooperating with officials in establishing 
paternity or in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support 
order for her child, the State must reduce the family's TANF 
benefit by at least 25 percent and may remove the family from 
the program entirely. Moreover, if a State does not enforce 
penalties requested by the State child support agency against 
TANF recipients who fail to cooperate, the DHHS Secretary must 
reduce the state's Federal TANF grant by up to 5 percent and 
the State must replace these funds with its own money.
    The 1996 law also requires States to take several actions 
to promote paternity establishment. These include creating a 
simple civil process for voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, 
maintaining a hospital-based paternity acknowledgment program 
as well as programs in other State agencies (including the 
birth record agency), and issuing an affidavit of voluntary 
paternity acknowledgment based on a form developed by the 
Secretary. When a child's parents are not married, the father's 
name must not appear on the birth certificate unless there is 
an acknowledgment or adjudication of paternity. In addition, 
signed paternity acknowledgments must be considered a legal 
finding of paternity unless rescinded within 60 days.
    The child support reforms include many other provisions 
that are expected to increase personal responsibility and 
promote deterrence. Among these measures are: mandatory 
employer reporting of information on new hires to promote rapid 
location of noncustodial parents; uniform interstate child 
support laws; establishment of a computerized statewide 
collection and disbursement unit to expedite child support 
payments to custodial parents; and stringent penalties, such as 
revocation of drivers' license and other professional and 
recreational (including sporting) licenses, of parents who owe 
past-due child support.


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