Sunday, July 21, 2013


July 21, 2013

As promised, I found information that can help us understand what we are talking about when we use the term teen parent and we can get a sense of the number of Americans we are dealing with. Statistical information is not exact information. It allows for an understanding of measuring things-in general- they cannot ever provide exact numbers for a variety of reasons. Good statistical information always informs the reader of the variability and reliability of the data provided. This source from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) division of vital statistics is based upon surveys and not on census bureau data. This means there are a lot of variables. For example, they could not have surveyed every home in America. So, aside from this information coming from the Center for Disease control, which surprised me, the numbers are pretty much what we hear on the evening news. I have included the link to the document I am quoting so you can find yourself in their numbers and see how you or persons like you are being tallied into statistical data.

Overall, the CDC report on “Intended and Unintended Births in the
United States: 1982–2010” written by William D. Mosher, Ph.D.; Jo Jones, Ph.D.; and Joyce C. Abma, Ph.D., for the Division of Vital Statistics in July of 2012 concludes that teen mothers are considered to be those females who give birth between the ages of 15-19. The report suggests that the numbers of births to American women in this age group has remained fairly constant between 2002 and 2010. Overall, “teen births” account for 11% of all births in the United States. About 2,283 of those births, annually, are attributed to unmarried females aged 15-19. Women aged 15-19 who were married accounted for 3,103 births in the years between 2006 and 2010. Further, "only 23% of births to teen mothers were intended.” About half of ALL pregnancies were terminated through abortion.

“Birth to white women of any age are less likely to be reported as unwanted…this may be related to levels of income or education.” So, we see that while the CDC has captured this information in order to determine use or non-use and forms of contraception in the American female population, they are also keeping track of what color the babies are. The report states that most unwanted pregnancies in the age group 15-19 occur in black and Latina populations and because those ethnic groups also tend to be, statistically, the poorest Americans, the majority of babies born to women aged 15-19, in the United States are born into poverty. “In 2008 (the midpoint of interviewing for the 2006–2010 NSFG), the poverty level was $14,489 for a family of two and $22,025 for a family of four. (This analysis is limited to women aged 20–44 because women aged 15–19 often do not know their family’s income).  This last bit of information suggests that women 15-19 who have children continue to live in their family home with their parents and siblings. I will need to do more research on that but, again, if you know it please provide us with the information.

It would also be interesting to know how females under the age of 15 who give birth are classified. I would also like to know if there is a certain percentage of recorded births in the age 15-9 group that can be attributed to rape, incest, or any kind of sexual violence. I will continue to work on pulling this information together but, again, if you know it-share it.

I was emancipated at age 16 in order to apply for welfare and food stamps to support my son and myself. When I left St. Anne’s, I did return to my home with my parents and siblings who really didn’t seem to mind that I had lied to them for two months. They were confused and my youngest sister was furious. Having been the family baby up until that point and only being 12, she hated that this new baby had been brought into the house. She has long since given that up and loves her nephew as much as she loves her own child. This was not an easy or smooth process and I will share stories with you about how it happened. Incorporating me into the family, as not just a sister and daughter but as a mother was not simple, easy or smooth. It turned out to be best when my son and I moved into our own home. It was a dingy one-room storage shed turned into a home but it was ours and I loved it mice, cockroaches and all.
For more information on the statistics I provided above go to: