WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Teen mothers and their babies face increased risks to their health and diminished economic opportunities. Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school and are more likely to receive state assistance. Children of teen mothers are more likely to perform poorly in school and are at a greater risk for abuse and neglect. Girls born to teen mothers are 22 percent more likely to become teen mothers themselves.[i] In addition, the negative effects of teen pregnancy do not simply impact teen mothers and their children but also result in high costs to the public, including public assistance, healthcare, child welfare, and loss of potential earnings.[ii] Recent studies have shown that it is not necessarily teen pregnancy itself that causes these negative personal and societal outcomes but rather the socioeconomic status of teens who tend to become mothers at a young age. Therefore, this indicator serves as a measure of the symptoms of a greater problem: the disadvantageous conditions associated with teens who become pregnant.[iii]
[i] Oregon Department of Human Services, Teen Pregnancy Prevention.
[ii] Center for disease control and prevention, “Vital signs: teen pregnancy–United States, 1991—2009,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 60, no. 13 (2011): 414-20.
S. Hoffman, “By the Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing,” Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (2006).
[iii] Mary Bissell, “Socio-Economic Outcomes of Teen Pregnancy and Parenthood: A Review of the Literature,” The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality 9, no. 3 (2000): 191-204.