This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Don't Be a Teenage Mom

Now, I don't expect that any potential teenage moms will ever read my blog, but anyone who is in contact with teenagers needs to keep in mind that one of, if not the, most tragic things a teenage girl can do is to get pregnant, especially if she decides to have the baby. My first book, based on my doctoral dissertation, was on teenage marriages, which were almost always inspired by a teenage pregnancy. Times have changed. A smaller fraction of teenagers in the U.S. now get pregnant than at any time since at least the 1970s, and when they do get pregnant they almost never marry. But, the sad tale is that when they do pregnant and have that baby, their life chances are pretty dismal--maybe even worse than ever, according to a new study just published in Demographic Research. Anne Driscoll of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (part of the US Centers for Disease Control), used data from the National Surveys of Family Growth to examine the outcomes of women who bore children as a teenager compared to women who waited to have children. This is an article with a lot of good material, but let me highlight her main findings:
Comparisons between teen mothers and both young adult and all adult mothers within cohorts suggest that gaps in single motherhood and poverty between teen and adult mothers have widened over time, to the detriment of teen mothers. Teen mothers have become more likely to be single and poor than in the past and compared to older mothers....The findings of this study suggest that women in more recent cohorts who became teen mothers as it is becoming less common will experience greater hardships as adults in a time of greater economic inequality and greater emphasis on education as a means of economic mobility.
This is not an outcome that we should wish on anyone, which is why sex education for teenagers, and the availability of birth control to teenagers needs to be even more widespread than it is today--along with more education about how a poor education can ruin your life. 


  1. Hi Dr Weeks,

    Here is a link to some exciting new research by Bob Woodberry who has found an inverse correlation between Christianity and corruption. I don't gather that an academic in California would like Christianity very much (my understanding is that it is treated as a dangerous form of discourse) but here is some good new research showing that more Christian countries tend to be less corrupt. Check it out and see what you think.

  2. Hi Professor Weeks,

    Another link on the same body of information, but related to the author and how he came by this idea.