Sunday, September 30
Every year in the U.S. about 800,000 teenagers become pregnant. The causes have been heavily debated and concentrate around lack of sex education and lack of parental involvement. Other contributing factors include educational failure, limited or no access to birth control, poverty, single parent household, a mother who gave birth as a teenager, sexual portrayal of teenagers in the media and an abusive home.
Although teen births have dropped by almost a third since the beginning of the 1990s, the US still has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world. Almost 80% of the fathers of babies born to teen mothers do not marry the mother. Among the girls who get pregnant less than 1/3 graduates from high school.
The social after-effects are serious. Poverty leads to low educational attainment and these two factors increase the likelihood of criminal involvement and imprisonment. According to the book "The Garbage Generation" by Daniel Amneus, children who live in single female-headed households are eight times more likely to go to prison and five times more likely to commit suicide. Thus the total cost of teen pregnancy tops $7 billion annually.
See the comparisons between the US and the Netherlands. Read if you want this article on the pregnancy rates in the Netherlands.
Why do we have such high rates of teen pregnancy?