One of the leading causes of poverty is when a female has a baby at a young age. They often do not have the ability to pay for the extraordinary costs involved in having a new born when they are a teenager. One piece of good news from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that over the last 8 years, the number of females age 19 or younger having babies has decreased anywhere from 40 to 50%.
It is estimated that teenage pregnancy costs the US around $9.5 billion dollars each year. The cost includes many of these mothers going on welfare or enrolling into Medicaid. It also includes the increased use of WIC vouchers to feed the baby as well as other government entitlement programs. This is a substantial cost to society, and with birth rates decreasing by around 40%, the total expense incurred by the government should go down, which is good news.
Teen birth rates are decreasing across the board. All ethnic groups and parts of the country are experiencing a decline according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the progress does vary by state. Some of the declines in birth rates are as follows. Blacks had a decrease of around 45%, Hispanic rate of teen pregnancy were cut in half, and white had the smallest decline, or about 1/3.
The aggregate teenage birth rate is now 2.4 percent. This means that for every 100 girls under the age of nineteen, 2.4% of them have a baby. Of that number about 1.2% of them end up as single moms as the father does not stay in the picture. This form of one parent household is a leading cause of poverty in this nation.
It is very difficult for a two person household to keep up with paying their bills. Just imagine how difficult it can be for a one parent, teenage run household. They would only have one income to pay for groceries, provide housing, and more. This also leads to a major challenge around child care. While a teen mom’s parents often try to help, it is generally not enough. But there is assistance available from a number of sources, and find programs that offer pregnant women financial aid.
About ½ of teenage moms also drop out of school. This leads to a lack of education, and therefore lack of future employment. And without a degree in today’s high tech economy, it is hard to get the skills that lead to a ling wage. Thus, poverty can easily occur.
So while the overall teenage birthrates are down around 40% in the last 8 years, more needs to be done to lower the rate even further. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to come up with programs to address this crisis. As when a child enters the world to a one parent, teenage run household, their chances of future success are much lower that one of a two parent, stable home.