Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why teen births are high

A new study says:
Why is the rate of teen childbearing is so unusually high in the United States as a whole, and in some U.S. states in particular? U.S. teens are two and a half times as likely to give birth as compared to teens in Canada, around four times as likely as teens in Germany or Norway, and almost ten times as likely as teens in Switzerland. A teenage girl in Mississippi is four times more likely to give birth than a teenage girl in New Hampshire—and 15 times more likely to give birth as a teen compared to a teenage girl in Switzerland.
The main point of the article is that the teen birth rate is high because teen girls have economic incentives that favor teen births. Education will not help unless the incentives are changes.

This research suggests that it is futile to try to educate the girls that they are economically better off waiting until they are in their 20s and have a stable husband. These economics professors say that teen birth is an economically rational decision. Reducing teen births will require killing the incentives, as well as making the behavior socially unacceptable.

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