Teenage show the societal and economic costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teenage
Pregnancy:

Social
and Economic Costs

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Sofiana
Sinani

ENG
109 ECO

Epoka
University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This paper describes the
consequences of teenage pregnancy in the U.S. Social and economic aspects are
noted, and the findings displayed are used to show the societal and economic
costs on the mother, child and public sector. The research presented is in
response to three key unanswered issues concerning the aftermath of adolescent
childbearing; first, the socioeconomic effects on the well-being of the mother
and child; secondly, factors that differentiated successful young mothers from
the unsuccessful ones; thirdly, the consequences of teenage pregnancies on
governmental expenditures. Results found a negative impact on the unsuccessful
mothers on their psycho-social welfare and economic independency due to lack of
education and increased demands for earnings. Simultaneously, this phenomenon
has a negative impact on governmental costs in aid for young mothers living in
poverty.

            Keywords: teenage,
pregnancy, social, economic, effect, mother

Introduction

Parenthood
significantly changes a woman’s or man’s life. Preceded with 9 months of
pregnancy and followed by taking care of the child commonly does not allow parents
any available time for other activities. Although parents are usually never
prepared for child raising, those who are older and/or married, who are employed,
and wage-earners have the resources to adapt adequately. The demands of
parenthood are a shock to the unmarried teenagers who are engaged in school,
dependent on their parents and who know insufficiently about raising a child.

Given
the responsibilities and demands that are attached to parenthood, the sacrifices
young parents take cannot be ignored without risk. This research paper focuses
on the undesirable aftereffects of adolescent pregnancies on education, social
and economic welfare of the mother and societal costs.

The
questions that will be addressed are the following:

1.     
What are the social and economic effects
on the well-being of the mother and other family members over time?

2.     
Among adolescent mothers, what factors
differentiate those who are doing well from those who are not?

3.     
What are the consequences of teenage
pregnancy on society?

 

Methods

The
studies referred in this paper are provided from The National Campaign to
Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy. The study measured ages at which the young
teenagers participated in the sexual activity which led to their pregnancy.
Thus, this is associated with an analysis of education, number of children
and/or family size. Further studies have been conducted in a way where the age
18 is simply dichotomized to compare high school dropout rates. Moreover, the
paper provides studies that have analysed the factors which have led to
successful young mothers years after they gave birth.

The
results displayed in the third section are prepared from two studies; National
Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and Risking the
Future: Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy and Childbearing. The results have estimated
total program costs and benefits from a societal perspective in which teenagers
were aided. Moreover, it calculates the average annual operating costs of the
program in 1982 including salaries, benefits, maintenance, food and expenses
for fundraising activities.

 

 

Results

The
first question in priority is how, the social and economic factors affect the
well-being of the mother and family members? Most of the research focuses on
the young women whereas relevant data for the children are also available.

Schooling

The
most generic sequence of events that lead to childbearing goes along the lines
of schooling, marriage then pregnancy. However, when young women do not adhere
to the conventional steps of childbearing and thus get impregnated during their
adolescent years, they most commonly face problems with finding time for school
engagement and attendance.

Among
all high school dropouts in the U.S, 30% of girls claim that pregnancy or
parenthood is the main reason they left school. Approximately 60% of adolescent
mothers at the age of 18 – 19 earn a high school diploma and 13% a GED compared
to 89% of female students who did not give birth as teenagers (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
and Sullentrop, 2010). This result appears to be worse for female students
under the age of 18; only 38% of them earn a high school diploma in the later
years. For these unfortunate teenagers, balancing child-raising and school work
was impossible. For a clearer understanding the graph below shows results in
accordance to the study conducted.

 

 

 

 

 

According
to National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, young mothers are
three times more likely to live in poverty. In fact, nearly 63% of the
teenagers receive public benefits within the first year after giving birth.  

What
are the impacts of these results on the mothers and children? A 2016 study
published in The American Journal of Maternal/Child nursing denotes symptoms of
depression are two to four times higher in adolescent mothers in comparison to
their peers. High levels of depression massively affect the relationship
between the mother and infant and may even affect the child’s emotional and
intellectual development. Furthermore, these mothers may encounter lack of
emotional and social support from their child’s father and parents; a fall-out
in the relationship with the baby’s father; discrimination from schoolmates,
teachers, employers and relatives (Sullentrop, 2010).

However,
what are the effects on the children? Children of teenage mothers are more
likely to be born at low birth weight, have lower reading scores and
vocabulary, suffer abuse, get incarcerated, drop out of high school and become
teen parents (Suellentrop, 2010). Furthermore, compared to mothers of ages
above 20, young adolescent mothers are 2.2 times more likely to have a child
placed in foster care during the first 5 years after birth.

Economic
well-being

The
evidence displayed in this paper is based on three studies, which all three
showed consistent results: there is no direct impact of teenage childbearing on
women’s hourly wages (Hofferth, 1978; McLaughlin, 1977; Haggstorm, 1981).

Nevertheless,
there appears to be an indirect effect on these mothers. Research found that
adolescent mothers earn less than other later mothers or those who are
childless. An early birth increases the size of the family but simultaneously
decreases the proportion of years worked. On the other hand, as aforementioned,
almost half of teenage mothers do not earn a high school diploma thus making it
harder for them to get employed. Adding all these details, giving birth at an
early age is associated with reduced earnings, all due to limited education and
increased obligation for economic support.

Factors
leading to successful early child bearers

An
outstanding study (Furstenburg and Brooks-Gunn, 1985) explored all the factors
which led young parents to successful lives. The researchers followed up a
sample of 300 women in Baltimore who had their child before or at the age of 18
one, three, five and seventeen years after birth. The outcomes of the women
taken as samples seventeen years later were a) still receiving welfare or b)
were economically secure and dependent and making a total of $25,000 or more
per year.

Three
families from the 500 women showed successful economic well-being. The family
resource factors were: high parental education, small family size and welfare
experience as a child. Moreover, intrinsic motivators including high school
performance, school continuation or educational aspirations encouraged the
young mothers to continue their education and be less dependent on welfare
programs.

Societal
impacts

Low
levels of educational achievement among teenage mothers reduce employment
opportunities and economic independencies later in life. Additionally, a state
loses its working force, purchasing power and collects fewer taxes. According
to The Alliance for Excellent Education, estimations predict that if in one
state 90% of students had earned a high school diploma in 2012, the state’s
economy would benefit from approximately $64 million increased annual earnings
and $5 million increased annual state and local revenues (NCSL, 2014).

Moreover,
different sets of data from Risking the Future: Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy
and Childbearing have been analysed in attempt to show the overall expenditures
of the AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) to households in which
the mother gave birth during her adolescent years. The results show that around
$4.65 to $5 billion expenses have been made for these mothers in the U.S.; adding
food stamp and medication benefits these expenditures increase to a total of
$8.55 billion (Moore and Burt, 1982).

Discussion

Adolescent
mothers are faced with not only meeting the needs of their infant but also
seeking ways to meet their own needs as a teenager. This dual challenge may
interfere with the teenager’s ability to grasp the parenting role and bond with
her new born 4-6 weeks post birth which is the most critical period that sets
the foundations of their relationship.

Furthermore,
without the sufficient knowledge and skills, guidance and social support young
mothers may feel overwhelmed in their new role as a parent. They need to be
encouraged to attend classes, to continue their education and to find economic
support.

Reducing
all teenage pregnancies would protect female adolescents from poverty and the
public-sector billions of dollars. Thus, it is safe to advocate the idea that
reducing fertility among teenagers is the most effective, consistent and
preferable method of reducing governmental costs.

Therefore,
how can adolescent pregnancies be reduced? According to The National Campaign
to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancies, nearly half (47.8%) of teenagers in
the U.S have regular sexual intercourse with peers. Despite governmental costs,
serious consequences are at stake for these young girls and boys and ways of
preventing unwanted teenage pregnancies should be at the highest priority. Acknowledging
that teenagers are having regular intercourse is another step closer to
preventing unwanted pregnancies. Parents and teachers are both responsible for
sex education to these young adults. Sex-talk should not be a taboo
conversation; being in denial of the fact that sex becomes a physiological need
in an adolescent’s life is not an effective approach to the problem. Teenagers
should be comfortable to talk to their parents or guidance counsellors about it
and should be able to ask for help rather than dealing with the consequences
due to lack of education.

Conclusion

            This review has included only those
studies that addressed the socioeconomic outcomes of the young mothers, most of
which received healthcare benefits from the public sector. All the studies
cited are consistent in at least one aspect. Moreover, they all come to find
the negative impacts of adolescent pregnancies on teenage girls, their families
and governmental expenditures.

            This research paper is particularly
important because it reveals the process in which teenage pregnancies affects
later economic well-being on the mother and public sector. First, as
aforementioned, most of the economic consequences on the mother and family are
indirect due to different variables, but more significantly due to termination
of education and family background. However, this paper provided examples and
factors which led women towards prosperity despite giving birth at a young age
which shows the positive side of this phenomenon.

            Finally, the same factors that
influenced the economic well-being of the mothers are simultaneously the same
factors which increase public sector costs in aid for pregnant teenagers.

            Although most of the research
conducted in this paper has analysed the impact on the mother and child, more
research should be conducted to describe the impacts and consequences on the
well-being of the father.

References

Sammons, Mary B. (2011, August 18). 9 Ways
to Prevent Your Teen’s Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.popsugar.com/moms/9-Ways-Prevent-Your-Teen-Pregnancy-27331501

Suellentrop, K. (2010, August 17). The
Costs and Consequences of Teen Childbearing). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ppt/nchs2010/29_Suellentrop.pdf

Hofferth, S.L, Hayes C.D, (1987) Risking
the Future: Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy, and Childbearing, Volume II:
Working Papers and Statistical Appendices. Washington (DC): National Academies
Press (US); 1987. CHAPTER 6, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF TEENAGE
CHILDBEARING. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK219229/

NCSL (2014, February). Teen Pregnancy:
Impact on Education and the Economy. Retrieved from  http://www.ncsl.org/documents/health/TPinAREducandEcon214.pdf

King, J.T, (2013). How Does Being Pregnant
Affect a Teenage Mother. Retrieved from http://pregnancy.lovetoknow.com/wiki/How_Does_Being_Pregnant_Affect_a_Teenage_Mother

DeVito, J. (2010). How Adolescent Mothers
Feel About Becoming a Parent. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 19(2), 25–34.
http://doi.org/10.1624/105812410X495523