New Study Links Teen Birth Rates with Dropping Out of School

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Photograph of a teen girl holding a baby.

Sixteen percent of births to teenagers occur in communities with low-performing schools. And many of the teen parents are high-school dropouts. A new report released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and America's Promise Alliance explores the relationship between teen pregnancy and dropping out of school and identifies some of the ways programs across the country are working to combat the two together.

Some findings the report highlights include:

  • Parenthood is a leading reason teen girls drop out of school. Thirty percent of girls who have dropped out of high school cite pregnancy or parenthood as a key reason. The rate is slightly higher for minority students: 36 percent of Hispanic girls and 38 percent of African American girls.
  • One in three teen mothers earns neither a diploma nor a GED, compared with six percent of young women who have not given birth.
  • Less than two percent of young women who have a baby before age 18 attain a college degree by age 30.

The study also highlights some of the innovative ways by which programs across the country are addressing teen pregnancy prevention and school completion. Several school districts, including New York City Public Schools, found that parental objections to teen pregnancy prevention programs in schools was a barrier, and organized an informational campaign for parents to garner their support. In West Virginia the state school system found that teachers needed support in delivering accurate and engaging pregnancy prevention information, and partnered with the health department and local organizations to hold in-person and online professional development courses for teachers.

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