SAN JUAN – Sixty-eight percent of births in Puerto Rico are to couples who are neither married nor live together, an official told Efe on Friday.
Nancy Vega, director of the Demographic Registry, acknowledged her “concern” about the progressive increase of this percentage, since in many cases mothers must shoulder the responsibility of raising the children alone.
“The situation is that many children are being born to one-parent households,” said Vega, who noted that this percentage has constantly increased over the past seven years.
In any case, Vega said that in 2013 there were 36,470 births in Puerto Rico and that in 75 percent of cases the childbirth took place to couples who claimed that would stay together, though they had no legal ties and did not live together.
“My greatest concern is that 25 percent of women who are mothers must care for their babies alone,” Vega said, stressing the fact that the average age of women who give birth is 25.
Of all the births registered last year, 51.6 percent were boys and the rest were girls, though on the island there are more women, due in part to the fact that more men die prematurely from health problems or as victims of the violence associated with drug trafficking, or because they are more likely to emigrate.
“In general, women take better care of themselves than men do, they go to the doctor more often and have a longer life expectancy,” Vega said.