Prevent pregnancy, prevent poverty

As the teen-age birth rate fell 30 percent from 1991 to 2002, child poverty also declined, reports the National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The Washington Post looks at the impact in the District of Columbia.

Were it not for the 10-year reduction in teenage birth rates, the number of children living in poverty in the city would have been 21 percent higher than it was in 2002. In Maryland, the poverty rate for children would have been nearly 13 percent higher, and in Virginia it would have been about 8 percent higher.

The U.S. still has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world with one third of women conceiving before the age of 20. Nearly 40 percent of children born to teen mothers live below the poverty line.

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  1. Josh Klugman says:

    While the idea that if you reduce teen pregnancy, you reduce child poverty is plausible, an equally likely scenario is that if you reduce poverty you reduce teen pregnancy (not only did child poverty decline over the 1990s, but so did poverty in general). As far as I can tell, the analyses the Campaign used can’t discriminate between these two interpretations.

  2. Yeah, but how do you reduce poverty? The War on Poverty was declared in the sixties and there are actually more poor people, as a percentage of the population, then there were then.

    I’m reasonably sure that wasn’t the intended outcome so the question remains unresolved.