Signaling a cultural shift, a United Nations report out Wednesday found 40 percent of all births in the U.S. now come from parents who are not married, compared to just 10 percent in 1970. The United Nations Population Fund study found the number to be even higher in the European Union, where 60 percent of births now occur out of wedlock. The shift suggests changing societal and religious norms as well as the millions of childbearing-age women in the workforce. The traditional progression of Western life “has been reversed,” said John Santelli, a professor of population, family health and pediatrics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
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