More than 800,000 young women under the age of 20 become pregnant each year in the United States.
Often young people who become parents before age 20 come from disadvantaged backgrounds or have been physically or sexually abused.
Young parents struggle with poverty, lack of education, lack of supportive services, and more. Having a child as an adolescent has serious affects on the health, education, and economic well being of young parents and on their children.
Young mothers are less likely than their peers to complete high school or college. Some research has shown that young fathers leave school earlier than other young men.
Teenagers who give birth once are at much greater risk to give birth again while still teenagers. The children of adolescents have a high risk of being born premature and of living in poverty.
Many times, the young person’s pregnancy or early parenting causes difficulties on top of an already difficult family situation. Young women are slowly pushed out of the home to find a place with extended family or friends. Some of these young women don’t have a permanent place to stay – they become homeless.
To break the cycle, pregnant and parenting youth need large amounts of support, comprehensive services, and solid adult role models to help them transition into adulthood, raise healthy children, and support themselves and their families.
Research & Links
“The Age of Unwed Mothers: Is Teen Pregnancy the Problem?,” Institute for American Values
“Association of Early Childbearing and Low Cognitive Ability,” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
"It's a Guy Thing: Boys, Young Men, and Teen Pregnancy Prevention," The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
“No Place to Grow: The Unsafe and Unstable Housing Conditions of Illinois Pregnant and Parenting Youth and Their Children,” Center for Impact Research
“Pathways to and from Homelessness: Women and Children in Chicago Shelters,” Center for Impact Research
“Playing Catch-Up: How Children Born to Teen Mothers Fare,” The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
“Prepped for Success? Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Chicago Schools,” Center for Impact Research
”Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage”
America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2006
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
The Adolescent Brain: A Work in Progress
Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Foster Care
Teen Pregnancy and Birth Rates in the United States
"Working With Pregnant and Parenting Youth," U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children & Families
U.S. Census Bureau
Fertility of American Women