October 27, 2016
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One-Third Of Teen Mothers Do Not Earn High School Diploma Or GED


New Child Trends research finds that one in three (34 percent) young women who had been teen mothers did not earn a high school diploma or a GED, compared with only 6 percent of young women who had not had a teen birth. Among the other findings presented in a fact sheet entitled Diploma Attainment Among Teen Mothers:
  • Slightly more than one-half (51%) of teen mothers received a high school diploma by the age of 22, compared with 89 percent of young women who had not given birth during their teen years.
  • A higher proportion of teen mothers earned a GED (15 percent) than did their counterparts who had not experienced a teen birth (5 percent).
  • Younger teen mothers are less likely than older teen mothers to earn a diploma.  Among young women who had a child before the age of 18, only 38 percent earned a high school diploma by the age of 22, compared with 60 percent of those who were 18 or 19 at the time that they had their first child.
  • Black teen mothers are more likely than Hispanic or white teen mothers to earn a diploma or GED by age 22.  More than two-thirds (67 percent) of black women who had a child before the age of 18 earned either a high school diploma or GED, compared with 55 percent of white women and 46 percent of Hispanic women in this category.
"Earning a high school diploma or GED reduces the risk of subsequent teen pregnancy, which has been linked to even poorer outcomes," said Kate Perper, M.P.P., lead author of the study. "Higher parental education is also linked to improved outcomes among children that may reduce their risk of early sexual activity and teen pregnancy, thus reducing intergenerational cycles of disadvantage." 

Data used in this study were drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1997 Cohort. 

Child Trends is a Nonprofit, Nonpartisan Research Center 
4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20008 ~ Phone: (202) 572-6000 ~ Fax: (202) 362-8420 

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