By: Dina Kogan
Teenage Pregnancy By: Stephanie Preece The Truth About Teen Pregnancy Although the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States has declined greatly within the past few years, it is still an enormous problem that needs to be addressed. These rates are still higher in the 1990's than they were only a decade ago. The United State's teenage birthrate exceeds that of most other industrialized nations, even though American teenagers are no more sexually active than teenagers are in Canada or Europe. (Gormly 348) Recent statistics concerning the teen birthrates are alarming. About 560,000 teenage girls give birth each year. Almost one-sixth of all births in the United States are to teenage women are to teenage women. Eight in ten of these births resulted from unintended pregnancies. (Gormly 347) By the age of eighteen, one out of four teenage girls will have become pregnant. (Newman 679) Although the onset of pregnancy may occur in any teenager, some teens are at higher risk for unplanned pregnancy than others. Teenagers who become sexually active at an earlier age are at a greater risk primarily because young teenagers are less likely to use birthcontrol. African-American and Hispanic teenagers are twice as likely to give birth as are white teenagers. Whites are more likely to have abortions. Teenagers who come from poor neighborhoods and attend segregated schools are at a high risk for pregnancy. Also, teenagers who are doing poorly in school and have few plans for the future are more likely to become parents than those who are doing well and have high educationsl and occupational expectations. Although the rate of teenage pregnancy is higher among low- income African-Americans and Hispanics, especially those in inner city ghettoes, the number of births to teenagers is highest among white, nonpoor young women who live in small cities and towns. (Calhoun 309) In addition to the question of which teenagers become pregnant, interest is shown in the social consequences of early parenthood. Adolescent parents (mostly mothers) may find that they have a "lost or limited opportunity for education." (Johnson 4) The higher a woman's level of education, the more likely she is to postpone marriage and childbearing. Adolescents with little schooling are often twice as likely as those with more education to have a baby bafore their twentieth birthday. Some 58% of young women in the United States who receive less than a high school education give birth by the time they are twenty years old, compared with 13% of young women who complete at least twelve years of schooling. (Tunick 11) Teens who become pregnant during high school are more likely to drop out. (Calhoun 310) A teen mother leaves school because she cannot manage the task of caring for a baby and studying, and a teen father usually chooses a job over school so that he can pay bills and provide for his child. (Johnson 4) Teen mothers usually have fewer resources than older mothers because they have had less time to gather savings or build up their "productivity" through work experience, education, or training. (Planned Parenthood 1) Because of this, teen mothers are generally poor and are dependent on government support. (Newman 679) The welfare system is usually the only support a teen parent will receive. Welfare benefits are higher for families with absent fathers or dependent children. (Calhoun 309) In some cases, teen mothers may also receive help like Medicaid, Food Stamps, and "Aid to Families with Dependent Children" (AFDC). (Newman 679) Besides educational and financial problems, teenage mothers may face a great deal of emotional strain and may become very stressed. Teen mothers may have limited social contacts and friendships because they do not have time for anything other than their baby. Lack of a social life and time for herself may cause the teenage mother to become depressed or have severe mental...
Bibliography: Works Cited Berk, Laura E. Child Development. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997. Calhoun, C. et al. Sociology. New York: Glencoe-McGraw-Hill, 1995. Donovan, Patricia. "Falling Teen Pregnancy, Birthrates: What 's Behind the Declines?" The Guttmacher Report. 1.5 (Oct. 1998); 31-34. Gormly, Anne V. Lifespan Human Development. 6th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1997. Johnson, Sherry. Teen Pregnancy: Too Much, Too Soon. Waco, TX: Health Edco., 1995. Newman, Philip R. and Barbara M. Newman. Childhood and Adolescence. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1997. Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Pregnancy and Childbearing Among U.S. Teens." Online. Internet. 29 Mar. 1999. Available http://plannedparenthood.org/Library/teen-pregnancy/childbearing.htm Tunick, Barbara. "Issues in Brief: Risks and Realities of Early Childbearing Worldwide." The Guttmacher Report. (Feb. 1997); 10-14.
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