The New York Times reported on an interesting issue about Income Inequality and Teenage Pregnancy in an effort to justify a correlation between them. Economists find a striking correlation between the two especially since teenagers in the U.S. are much more likely to give birth than their peers in other developed nations such as Canada, Germany, Norway, Russia, and Switzerland, according to the report. Whether a correlation truly exists is still debatable, but researchers are providing solid grounds for an existence.
Some key points in the article include:
- Teenage childbirth is more common among poor girls
- Poor girls living in places with high-income inequality are even more likely to bear children as teenagers
- Researchers say that poor citizens give birth at a young age because they believe they have little chance for advancement and economic mobility
- Research also says that poor girls who bear children in their teenage years do not suffer much worse economic outcomes than their peers who wait to have children
The authors say that policy change is the solution to this increasingly common phenomenon. Instead of focusing on persuading teenagers to use birth control and encourage abstinence, policies should focus on improving economic opportunities for them. Improving their life chances in a broader sense may be the right step towards solving the problem, which can then lead to lower rates of teenage childbearing. However there has been a significant drop in teenage pregnancies in the U.S. within the past 20 years – thereby putting the whole notion of a cause and effect relation between the two issues, into question leaving room for further study.
To Turn this into a Story:
- Ask local people whether they agree with the idea that teenage pregnancy is more common among the poor than the rich
- Instigate discussions about the causes of teenage pregnancies/ ask pregnant or teenage moms about their reason for giving birth at a young age
- A sample story angle could be: Getting into the mind of a teenage mom – What made her decide to go forth with giving birth and has the experience moved her forward or backward in life?
- Learn the teenager’s point of view in whether her economic situation impacted her decision to conform to child bearing at a young age
Poverty reporting and commentary from across the web:
New York Times: More Children Living (and Lacking) in High-Poverty Areas
Huffington Post: Nobody Goes It Alone: Reframing the Poverty Discussion
Huffington Post: Painting a Picture of Poverty in Utah: By the Numbers
Washington Post: Previewing the jobs report