Teen Parents a More Diverse Group Than Most Believe

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 General News
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 Contrary to the perception of most Americans, the majority of teen parents are from households that are not in poverty and that are not headed by single parents. These findings and others were released today by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Results of new public opinion polling show that 67% of adults believe that most teen mothers are from homes below the federal poverty level. Fully 70% of adults surveyed believe that most teen mothers come from single parents homes.

New, first-of-its-kind analysis of existing research conducted for The National Campaign by Child Trends makes clear that both perceptions are incorrect:

"Despite what many may believe, teen childbearing is not limited to a particular income group or family structure," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign, "which means that prevention efforts must be broad in their design and reach. It is also true, of course, that family income and family structure remain critically important risk factors associated with teen childbearing."

The findings from this first-of-its-kind analysis are based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative longitudinal survey of students. The Add Health project began in 1995 with funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is a private, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy, especially among single, young adults.

We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors.

Please visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org for more information.

-- Only 28% of those who report having given birth or fathered a child as a teen lived in families with incomes below the federal poverty line. -- Seven in ten (72%) lived in families above the federal poverty level (31% at 100-199% of poverty and 41% at 200% or more of poverty). -- Just 30% of those who report having given birth to or fathered a child as a teen said they were living with a single parent. -- Four in ten (39%) say they lived with both biological parents and 19% reported living with one biological and one step parent.

SOURCE The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

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