MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area is number four in the country for percentage of unmarried mothers aged 15 to 50.
The report, taken from 2011 census data, shows that 67.4 percent of births in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Conway happened outside of marriage, compared to the national average of 35.7 percent.
Most of the moms are native-born Americans, in their early 20's, making less than $10,000 a year. It also writes the majority of the moms have less than a high school diploma. But not all of the Grand Strand moms fit tidily into these statistics.
"When you hear a single person say 'oh, I'm pregnant,' it's not a shock anymore," expresses Nikki Frierson, an unmarried mother of two.
Frierson isn't just a statistic, she is her own story. The report shows most of the unmarried moms have less than a high school diploma. Frierson isn't just a high school grad, she's also in grad school.
"My mom always wanted to make sure I had more than she did. I don't want to give them less than she gave me. And if that means not being with a man, not married, it will all fall in place later on," she says.
When Frierson's daughter was born, she realized her daughter's father didn't add anything to their life, so she didn't want to add his last name.
Wren Floyd on the other hand, was planning on marrying.
"We were engaged, we loved each other," Floyd recalls.
She says her and her fiance moved in together.
"I found out about 2 or 3 months after living together, that I was pregnant," says Floyd.
As she was planning to say 'I do'....she soon realized there wasn't going to be a walk down the aisle.
"We actually split up when I was 7 months pregnant."
A major event like having her son, she says, makes you realize what type of person you want to be. For Floyd, it also made her realize the type of person she wanted to be with. She says her ex-fiance's infidelity had her re-evaluating what was best for her son.
"I decided I don't want my son to reflect that, with that type of attitude on life and those actions by someone who should be influencing him in a positive way," she explains.
At first, being a single, unmarried mom wasn't her choice. But now, it is her choice to stay that way.
Another mom made a different choice.
"It was our choice not to get married and rush into that," explains Jasmine Estevez, an unmarried mother.
She and her son's father are together, but are not planning to tie the knot.
"I work. I go to school. My son is thriving like he would in a family, in a married family," she says.
It's a sign of the changing times, she says.
"It's 2013. Not everyone wants to settle down."
Greenville, North Carolina is number two on the list with a 69.4 nonmarital birthrate, and Sumter, South Carolina is ninth on the list.
"Research has shown that income is negatively related to the likelihood of having a nonmarital birth," the report states.
Overall, South Carolina had a nonmarital birth percentage of 43.9 in 2011, a median household income of $42,367 (compared to the $50,502 national average), with 17.8 percent of the population in poverty (compared to the 15.1 national average).
The margin of error in Myrtle Beach's nonmarital birth figure is 17.9 percent, and the South Carolina's figure has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.