From an article by Isabel V. Sawhill in the winter edition of the Public Interest:

In the struggle against child poverty, the nation faces some difficult choices. We can make it easier for unwed mothers to raise children on their own by providing them with better education, wage supplements . . . or other supports. Since no amount of moralizing about out-of-wedlock childbearing will change the lives of those mothers who are already struggling to raise children on their own, such aid is warranted. But looking to the future, we should encourage young people to postpone childbearing until they are married or at least prepared to support their children. . . .

The goal among those concerned about the breakdown of the family should be to discourage both too early childbearing and childbearing outside of marriage. Very early childbearing, even were it to occur within marriage, is detrimental. Such families are quite unstable, and early childbearing prevents young parents from attaining the high levels of education that are necessary to compete in today's economy. But we should also recognize that the breakdown of marriage as the normative context for raising children may have consequences for our society that are at lest as profound as the age at which childbearing begins. Indeed, the teen birth rate is far lower now than it was in the 1950s. What is new is the proportion of these very early births that occur to unmarried women and the fact that single parenting has lost its stigma.