Just more than 1100 more babies were born to single mothers in Missouri last year than the year before. More than 40 percent of babies born in Missouri last year were born to single mothers. That’s more than 7 percent higher than in 1997.
"The out of wedlock there have been some major societal changes that have been at play there over a long period of time and I don’t see them changing any time soon," said Team Leader Craig Ward with the state health department.
Over the last few years, Ward said he and his team have noticed another trend that concerns him.
"When I look at their percentage of those teens that are giving birth and I look at how many of those are out of wedlock, that percentage is very high, but what I saw say for 15 to 17 year olds there was a very small decline for out of wedlock for that age group," he said. "Then for the 18 to 19 year olds they’re percent for out of wedlock actually went up."
That translates to more married teens between 15 and 17 are giving birth.
"The story here is, is it ok or is the society comfortable with 18 and 19 year olds giving birth whether out of wedlock or not," Ward said.