WASHINGTON -- Four states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands will share $100 million in federal bonuses for reducing out-of-wedlock births, the Department of Health and Human Services said Friday.
The District of Columbia had the largest decline in illegitimate births, 5.5 percent, and will receive about $19.8 million, as will Colorado, Maryland, Texas and Wyoming. The Virgin Islands will receive $888,000.
The bonuses have been awarded annually, as part of the 1996 welfare reform law, to as many as five states and three U.S. territories.
"Reducing out-of-wedlock births can have a strong, positive impact on the lives of our children, and these bonuses recognize progress toward that goal," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said.
In addition to reducing out-of-wedlock births, top states also must reduce their abortion rate.