June 20, 1999

Study shows more than 40 percent of Puerto Rican births out of wed-lock

                  SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- More than 40 percent of babies in Puerto
                  Rico are born to unwed parents, a study by the University of Puerto Rico

                  Results of the study, published Saturday in El Nuevo Dia newspaper, show
                  46 percent of the 64,214 births on the island in 1997 were to unmarried
                  parents, up from 43 percent in 1995.

                  In 31 percent of the cases in 1995, the parents lived together. In the other
                  12 percent, the mother was the sole head of the household, researchers at
                  the university's Medical Sciences Campus found.

                  The rate of births out of wedlock has risen steadily since 1975, when it
                  stood at 18 percent. In 1980, the rate was 21 percent; in 1985, 28 percent;
                  and in 1990, 37 percent.

                  Researchers said of Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities, northeastern Moca had
                  the lowest rate of unwed parents in 1995, 21 percent. The highest, 62
                  percent, was in southern Santa Isabel.

                  They also noted that 69 percent of married couples had their babies in
                  private hospitals, while most unwed mothers gave birth in public hospitals.