Other Free Encyclopedias » Social Issues Reference » Child Development Reference - Vol 8 » Teenage Pregnancy - Incidence Of Teenage Pregnancy, Teenage Pregnancy And Later Outcomes, Public Policy And Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage Pregnancy - Teenage Pregnancy And Later Outcomes

mothers children statistics childbearing

Becoming a mother as a teenager is associated with higher risk for a number of poor outcomes. Teen mothers are less likely to finish high school, less successful in the job market, less likely to marry, and more likely to rely on public assistance than women who have children after their teen years. In addition, children of teen mothers generally do not fare as well as other children. They tend to score less optimally on assessments of cognitive development and academic achievement, and also tend to exhibit more problem behaviors than other children.

Although teen pregnancy is associated with this myriad of unfavorable outcomes, it has become widely acknowledged that such outcomes should not simply be interpreted as being caused by early childbearing itself. This is because teen births do not occur randomly among women in the population, but rather are experienced by women who themselves are much more likely to have come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teenage mothers are up to twice as likely as other women, for example, to have grown up in single-parent families. Many teen mothers have spent much of their own childhood in poverty, often living in impoverished neighborhoods characterized by poor schools, inferior public services, and limited career options. Since people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are generally at higher risk for poorer outcomes, it is very difficult to sort out whether the long-term difficulties experienced by teen mothers and their children are due to early childbearing, or are the result of the mothers' preexisting economic and social disadvantages.

During the 1990s, researchers used innovative methods to try to better understand the actual consequences of teen childbearing. Arline Geronimus and her colleagues studied pairs of sisters in their late twenties and thirties in which one of the pair had a birth while a teenager and the other did not. Since both sisters were raised in the same conditions, this strategy provided a way to control for many aspects of background disadvantage when examining ways that outcomes differed for the teen and nonteen mothers. Using data from several nationally representative FIGURE 1 SOURCE: Figure adapted from National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Statistics of the United States, 1968, Vol 1: Natality. Washington, DC: Public Health Service, 1970; National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Statistics of the United States, 1992, Vol 1: Natality. Washington, DC: Public Health Service, 1995; Ventura, Stephanie J., Joyce A. Martin, Sally C. Curtin, T. J. Mathews, and M. M. Park. "Births: Final Data for 1998." National Vital Statistics Reports 48 (3). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000; Sally C. Curtin, and Joyce A. Martin. "Births: Preliminary Data for 1999." National Vital Statistics Reports 48 (14). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000. surveys, they found that the long-term "costs" of teen childbearing were lower than previously thought. Results based on one of the surveys indicated that future incomes and employment status were not significantly different among teen and older mothers. Similar analyses done by Geronimus and others (and replicated by Saul Hoffman and associates using data from another survey) did show somewhat lower incomes and poorer economic status among teen mothers when compared to their sisters who were not teen mothers. Although findings varied in different surveys, all of these studies consistently demonstrated that previous research, which did not account for background disadvantage, tended to overstate the negative consequences of teen child-bearing.

More recently, Joseph Hotz and colleagues compared mothers who gave birth as teenagers, with women who became pregnant at the same age but suffered miscarriages and subsequently delayed child-bearing for at least three or four years. Their results indicated that, on average, those who gave birth actually had significantly higher incomes later on than women who had delayed childbearing. In this study there was no difference among the groups of mothers in the likelihood of obtaining a high-school level education, although teen mothers were more likely to obtain a GED than a high school diploma. Teen mothers also tended to have more births by age thirty than the other mothers, and had spent a greater proportion of this time interval unmarried.

Studies have also examined the consequences of teen motherhood for children. For example, Kristin Moore and associates compared outcomes among children of teen and nonteen mothers, using a set of standard statistical controls in their analyses for maternal background factors and other characteristics. They found that children of teen mothers experienced a significantly lower quality home environment, and children born to teens aged seventeen or younger were at a significant disadvantage with respect to cognitive development and academic achievement. Using their sister-pair strategy as a more comprehensive way to control mothers' background disadvantage, Geronimus and colleagues found that children of teen mothers actually did better than children of nonteen mothers on several cognitive and achievement tests; and on other tests, no significant differences among the children were observed.

In sum, research findings highlight the important and previously underemphasized role that disadvantaged conditions prior to pregnancy play in the poor outcomes seen among teen mothers and their children. There is general consensus that earlier studies exaggerated the consequences of teen child-bearing because they failed to effectively take these background factors into account. The true nature and the extent of the outcomes caused by teen childbearing remain controversial, largely due to the fact that the data currently available with which to study them have significant limitations. More definitive answers will require the development of larger and more detailed surveys that follow childbearing women and their children over longer periods of time, as well as improved research methods for quantifying causal effects with increased certainty.

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over 6 years ago

I can say that I don't totally agree with this article. My mother was a teen when she had me, finished high school, went to collage got her business degree, and supported our family. I'm 16 now and can say... after what had happened to her as a teen i'm so happy she never killed me. My mother and I are like sisters and it's the best relationship I think anybody could ever have. I support teen mothers in all ways, they are stong for what they do and they should be proud of themselves for being a tough cookie and relizing that you created a beautiful and lovely baby. Don't take away that choice, accident, what ever it was. Keep moving forward and you'll realize that life has an open door no matter what you are faced with.

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over 7 years ago

Currently I am doing a research paper on teen mothers and as a teen mother I take ALOT of offense to some of these comments and these so called statistics. I give my son EVERYTHING since before he was born, I never once took anything as a hand-me-down, everything of his I worked for and it took time but I made sure he had the best of everything. A lot of these studies suggest that being a teen mother has to do with your background,your parents,education,low income living and thats not at all the case with a lot of teen pregnancies.My parents were in their 30's and 40's when they had me, I went to a good school, and money wasn't a big issue I always had what I needed and a lot of what I wanted. What happens is two stupid teens in the moment that don't want to wait to get a condom. It was really hard being pregnant and even now when I have people that frown upon me because I'm a teen mother. I may not be perfect but I know that I am a good mom and I love my son more than anything in this world, that is why I chose to give him life rather than commit murder.My son was the best decision and if anything he made my life straighten out, he kept me on track instead of all my friends who are doing drugs and getting in trouble. People really need to think about what the say.Don't give your students any advice because you are a horrible source, until you've gone through it you have no idea what it's like

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almost 7 years ago

I am very angry about this artical. I happen to be a teen parent and none of this is me. I graduated high school, in college now, i am married, and not on assistance. Articles like this are what make teen moms want to give there babies up for adaption or worse have a abortion. This sickens me.

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almost 7 years ago

It's completely up to you to have sex, yes you should be careful and use a condom but people should judge teens on if you had a child or not like honesty i understand everyone has there own opinion but if you got nothing nice to say keep it to yourself.

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over 5 years ago

sex is awesome.

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over 5 years ago

I would like to briefly sharemy success story as a teen mother. Pregnant at 15 and a new mom at 16, by age 23 I had 3 children! although life has been difficult at times, I managed to finish high school and (recently college). I went to school to work in aviation and was able to make a decent living to raise my kids who just this May, ALL THREE graduated from college!!! I couldnt be prouder. I have never regretted my decision not to adopt or abort.

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over 6 years ago

im doing a research on teen pregnacy and reading all these comments have helped me to see both sides

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over 8 years ago

I was looking for stats on teen mothers and their children as there's been a rash of teen pregnancies in the high school where I work. This article is similar to most I've read.

Yes, some teen mothers are successful at raising their child(ren), but my experience tells me that the above stats don't lie. The children are the true victims here. They are much more likely to grow up in disadvantaged surroundings. An astounding amount of teen mothers (80% by most accounts) end up on welfare. One source said that just one percent of teen mothers earn college degrees.

Raising a child these days is difficult enough. Raising a child as an unwed teenage mother puts the child behind the eight ball from the very beginning. The child is born with one strike against them.

Abstinence??? In an ideal world, yes. Birth control and access to abortion clinics is a must. If a teen mother REALLY loves and wants what is best for their child, she should consider adoption. Adoptive parents have made a conscious decision to be parents. They are screened diligently. They WILL give a child a good home.

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almost 7 years ago

To Shanna i would like to start of by saying congrats in actually graduating with a child. But as everyone may know not all girls have that luck many dont even have support by there parents let alone the baby's daddy. Don't get me wrong im not saying you shouldn't feel sick about this article its your oppinion im just saying think about it this article is just one of the many articles of teen pregnancy some actually talk about the successful moms like your self and some completely ignore it i myself dont agree with this article as well but i am currently doing research for a school project and i have come across many articles talking about teen mothers and there successful stories like yours.

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over 7 years ago

i feel that if teenage mothers can not handle their kids then they should ahev never had sex to begin with.

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almost 9 years ago

ii think that everyone makes mistakes..but getting pregnant when your a teen is a very big one.Just because you get pregnant it doesnt mean your life is over you just have to believe in yourself and you can still have a great life..<33

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over 6 years ago

reading these responses from angry teen mothers, is a fantastic example of why teenage pregnancy is not a good thing. The lack of logic and understanding is unbelievable. Those who claim to have made it on their own and provided everyhting for your child... bull! Either the government or your families helped you. No high school student can pay for rent, day care,and the other countless needs of a baby all while going to school... not to mention a continued education. Stop making outrageous claims and acknowledge that you were lucky enough to have a support system to make it happen, a support system that most teen mothers do not have. The statistics aren't lies. Teen mothers make bad mothers most of the time. Deal with it.

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over 7 years ago

i understand that these stats are to try to prevent teen pregnancy, but with me being a single teen mother of 2 i think that we need to show the teen parents that they don't have to be one of these stats that there is more that they can do. i graduated from high school on my daughters 1st birthday and i didn't think that there was any way that i could go to college or do anything better with my life, well after watching 16 and pregnant and hearing all the stats i mind my mind up i will not live as a statistic anymore. I'm in college and I'm doing a speech on teen parents and once I'm done with this speech i will get it out. i want teen parents to know that they don't have to be looked at badly anymore.

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over 6 years ago

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almost 7 years ago

this is not true
im a teen parent in an all girls private school
i graduated with a 3.92GPA from High School
my son is the smartest guy i know and he learns fast even the people who care for him are amazed at his cognitive development.... some parents like me have to give them to their family to finish school
im no longer like other girls my age i grown up so fast that i do not party and i just focus on school
By having my son i learned to be more independent and i do not need a man to help me out i know what to do to get ahead so do other moms because we all have our kids that motivates us. God may have given us this path and thank god he did becuz we have the bestest gift ever and we get to b with our kids more longer than ordinary parents do.... our kids will see how much we suffer and know the consequences rather than being told

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about 2 years ago


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almost 5 years ago

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almost 5 years ago


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almost 5 years ago

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about 5 years ago

Did those of you who are angry about this article, even read it? It talks about the factor being a poor background for the mother rather than being a teen. As a young parent, myself, I think it is great that they are finally looking at other factors. I beat the statistics and raised wonderful and adjusted children. I did come from a financially poor background, but had a wonderful and supportive family.

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almost 6 years ago

haha Lil-Chickyxox,

they speak about the effects academically on the child of a teen mum.....it's 'college' not 'collage'....

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over 9 years ago

I think that teen mothers will have to work hard to provide for their kid but it's not impossible for them to survive. THey can still finish school and get a job and find someone who loves them and get married. It will just be a little more difficult to do all that and raise a kid.

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almost 10 years ago

i really dont agree with this. i think that teen mothers can do just as good a job raising their child as anyone else.

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about 9 years ago

not evey teen girl has it easily even being prego they can have a life changeing situation and have to acked fast they can still go to colege i mean theres day care at some coleges and they can still get an education i mean i came from a poor family and twins at age 15 and im a lawyer at the lerwance county court