National Center for Family and Marriage Research Family Profiles

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The majority of births in recent years are intended (FP-21-01), but many mothers nonetheless experience unintended fertility. In this profile, we examine the share of mothers aged 45-49 who have ever experienced unintended childbearing (having any births that are not ‘on time’) for the year 2017, using the 2015-2019 cycle of the National Survey of Family Growth. Unintended births were identified from a series of questions in which women were asked to characterize each birth as on time, mistimed (wanted but occurring earlier than desired), or unwanted (the respondent did not want any births at all, or no additional births). When births were reported as too early, women were asked how much earlier than desired the birth occurred, and we categorize mistimed births into two groups: slightly mistimed (less than two years earlier than desired) or seriously mistimed (two or more years too early). This profile is an update of FP-17-101 and the third in a series on unintended childbearing.

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National Center for Family and Marriage Research