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The Link Between Poverty and Teen Pregnancy is Bigger Than You Think

Black Pregnant Teen

According to The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), about two thirds of young unmarried mothers are poor and around 25 percent go on welfare within three years after their child is born. In fact, poverty can be a cause of teen pregnancy, but on the other hand, teen pregnancy can lead to poverty.

The link

Among teen girls who drop out of school, 30 percent do so because of pregnancy. The rate is even higher among African American girls (38 percent) and Hispanic girls (36 percent). Only about 40 percent finish high school, and only 2 percent finish college by the time they are 30. Teen pregnancies are a significant factor in the mother's ability to finish their education and get a higher-paying job. The effects on their children are no different.

Statistics show that children born to teens are more likely to have lower performance in school, twice as likely to have to repeat a grade, and only two-thirds of children born to teen mothers are likely to get a high school diploma. This compares with 81 percent among children who are born to older parents. They are also much more likely to become teen parents themselves.

The cost factor

In addition, teen pregnancy costs the nation nearly $9.4 billion, according to NCSL. The costs include everything from public health care to loss of tax dollars from teens who are not working and on welfare, incarceration due to lack of supporting children born to teens, foster care, and much more.

Teen pregnancy initiates a cycle of poverty that can continue for generations. The key to ending the cycle is educating teens of every race about making good choices that will improve their outcome and their lives as adults.

Read more by visiting www.ncsl.org/research/health/teen-pregnancy-prevention.aspx

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