MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Maureen Pirog PhD
Rudy Professor of Policy Analysis
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We analyzed parenthood, education and income statistics over a long time span from two groups of about 10,000 people — those born in 1962-64 and those born in 1980-82.
- Teen fathers and mothers came increasingly from single-mother families with disadvantaged backgrounds.
- The proportion of teen mothers or fathers living with their partners didn’t change, but far fewer were married.
- The birth rates to teenage girls across the two groups didn’t change, but the reported rate of teenage fatherhood increased, a seemingly contradictory conclusion. For example, 1.7 percent of the men in the older group were fathers by the time they were 17, while in the younger group, nearly double that number were dads. About 8 percent of the 17-year-old females in both groups were mothers.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: The increase in the number of teen fathers is a worrisome trend because teen fathers are less likely than older men to provide financial support and a stable home environment to their children.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: There are encouraging data points in the findings. Teen parents are staying in school longer, and there has been an uptick in their income level.
What hasn’t changed over time is the need for well-funded Head Start programs and pre-K programs so that teen mothers can continue their work or study. High schools need to foster programs targeted at those at the greatest risk of unintended pregnancy and unprepared parenting.
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Citation: Pirog et al. The Changing Face of Teenage Parenthood in the United States: Evidence from NLSY79 and NLSY97. Child Youth Care Forum, 2017 DOI: 1007/s1056
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