More children are now being born outside of marriage, according to a new study by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values.
The report focuses on what it calls "middle-America," the nearly 60 percent of Americans who complete high school but not college.
Among that group, 44 percent of children are now born outside of marriage. That's up from 13 percent in the 1980s.
How does growing up with parents who are not married impact a child? Dr. Linda Mintle, family therapist and author of Raising Healthy Kids in an Unhealthy World, explains.
"Marriage in middle America is at a tipping point, with unwed childbearing threatening to become a new norm," study co-author Brad Wilcox said.
Research shows children born or raised outside of marriage are more likely to suffer from a range of social and emotional problems.
"The retreat from marriage is both a cause and a consequence of increasing inequality in America," report co-author David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, said.
Report lead author Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, called the nation's leaders to step up to the plate.
"The president and all our nation's leaders must confront the marriage challenge in Middle America with the urgency and compassion it deserves," she said.