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Facts About Shotgun Weddings

A recent study published in Demography showed shotgun marriages occur most often in demographic groups with lower overall marriage rates. As the name suggests, shotgun marriages, or midpregnancy marriages, happen after the woman conceives the child and before the child is born.

Researchers used administrative data in North Carolina on almost 800,000 white and black mothers, using birth, marriage, and divorce records between the years 1992 and 2012. The study found that among children born to married parents, shotgun marriages rose by 41% for white women with a high school diploma or less; 61% for black women with a high school diploma or less; 20% for all black mothers; 17% for white mothers under age 25; and 60% for black mothers under age 25.

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