Teen Pregnancy Statistics
Each year in the
Research tells us that there are many risk factors for teens who become pregnant and their children. Forty percent of all female school dropouts cite pregnancy or marriage as the reason for leaving. Teens who give birth are more likely to come from poor or low-income families (83%) than are teens who have abortions (61%) or teens in general (38%) (AGI, 1994.) Nationally, 70% of teen mothers finish high school but they are less likely to go on to college.
In part because most teen mothers come from disadvantaged backgrounds, 28% of them are poor while in their 20’s and early 30’s; only 7% of women who first give birth after adolescence are poor at those ages.
The U.S. teenage birth rate is the highest in the developed world: twice as high as England’s, three times as high as Australia’s, four times as high as Germany’s, six times as high as France’s, eight times as high as the Netherlands’, and 15 times as high as Japan’s (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998; Berne & Huberman, 1999).
In general, teenage mothers do not fare as well as their peers who delay childbearing:
Their family incomes are lower.
They are more likely to be poor and receive welfare.
They are less educated.
They are less likely to be married.
Their children lag in standards of early development. (AGI, 1998; Hoffman, 1998)
About 64 percent of teen mothers graduate from high school or receive a GED within two years after they would have graduated with their freshman class, versus 94 percent of teenage women who did not give birth (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998).
Nearly 80 percent of teen mothers eventually go on welfare. According to one study, more than 75 percent of all unmarried teen mothers began receiving welfare within five years of giving birth (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998).
Although not as severe as those for teen mothers, the effects of early childbearing are also negative for teen fathers. They are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors such as alcohol abuse or drug dealing, and they complete fewer years of schooling than their childless peers. One study found that the fathers of children born to teen mothers earned an estimated average of $3,400 less per year than the fathers of children born to mothers who were 20 or 21, over the course of 18 years following the birth of their first child (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998).
The children of teenage parents face severe health, economic, and social consequences. Because one-third of pregnant teens do not receive adequate prenatal care, their babies are more likely to be low birth weight, to have childhood health problems, and to be hospitalized than those born to older mothers (AGI, 1998).
The infant mortality rate for children born to teen mothers is about 50 percent higher than that for those born to women older than 20 (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998).
The offspring of teenage mothers are more likely to be poor, abused, or neglected than those of women who delay childbearing, and they are less likely to receive proper nutrition, health care, and cognitive and social stimulation (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998; Maynard, 1997). They are also at greater risk of lower intellectual and academic achievement and social behavioral problems — one study found that children of teenage mothers are almost three times as likely to be incarcerated during their adolescence or early 20s as are the children of older mothers (Maynard, 1997).
Children born to teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to be unemployed and to become teenage parents themselves than those born to women who delay childbearing (Maynard, 1997).
For statistics on teen births in Whiteside County, see http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/teen/teen0203.htm