Ocala has highest rate of unmarried moms, and other breaking Census news

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According to new US Census data released Wednesday, the Ocala metro area leads Florida in the rate of births to unmarried women, at a staggering 60 percent.

While this is the highest rate in Florida, the Miami Herald reported that Ocala ranks at 16th in the nation.   The metro area between Jacksonville and Daytona beach had the state’s lowest rate at 6.2 percent.

According to the Census, women with more education generally have a lower rate of births out of marriage; and to this point, Ocala also has Florida’s lowest rate of women with a college degree.

These data, collected within the American Community Survey, reveal that nationally about 36 percent of all children were born to unmarried mothers in 2011.  Overall, these rates increased about 20 percent between 2002 and 2007; and up by over 80 percent between 1980 and 2007.

This wasn’t the only news today to hit the airwaves regarding the US Census.   The Census release also included evidence of a national increase in total employment, with the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector leading the way with a 12 percent increase in employment. This is the first year since 2008 in which increased employment was shown over the prior year, however not all the news was positive: nationally and in Florida, this year marked the 4th consecutive year with a decline in the total number of US businesses.

Also just announced, a group of congressional Republicans filed a bill to bar the Census Bureau from conducting all surveys except for its decennial population count — meaning, it would repeal the agricultural census, economic census, government census and the American Community Survey which together gather data essential to uncountable studies including oft-reported unemployment rates across the nation.  A repeal of the ACS was passed by the House last year but died in the Senate, and it appears (hopeful) that this current bill is likely to meet the same fate.