Missionaries of the Sacred

Teenage Pregnancy and the Cycle of Poverty PDF Print
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 10:53

Image for illustration onlyMost teen fathers (80%) do not marry the mother of their first children, and absent teen fathers pay less than $800 a year in child support. (Source) Teenage mothers (who often have to parent without assistance from the child’s father) are less likely to finish their education and are thus more likely to have lower incomes. In fact, two-thirds of families started by young, unmarried mothers are poor. Only 38% of mothers who have a child before the age of 18 obtain a high school diploma, and only 2% complete college by the age of 30. (Source) In the past 20 years, the median income for college graduates has increased 19% while the median income for high school dropouts has decreased 28%. (Source) Higher educational attainment is also correlated with lower rates of unemployment. In August 2010, the unemployment rate for US civilians age 25 and older was 14% for those without a high school diploma or 10.3% for those with a high school diploma or equivalent, 8.7% for those with some college, and 4.6% for those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. (Source)

A child is 9 times more likely to grow up in poverty if his or her mother gave birth as a teenager, is not married, and did not receive a high school diploma or GED, than if his or her mother is married, did not give birth as a teenager and received a high school diploma or GED. The cycle perpetuates itself because the children of teen mothers are also less likely to complete high school, and teens who drop out of high school are more likely to get pregnant and have a child. (Source).