four times as likely to give birth than a teenage girl in New Hampshire? (And 15 times more likely to give birth than a teen in Switzerland?) Or why is the teen birth rate in Massachusetts 19.6 per 1,000, while it’s 47.7 per 1,000 in Washington, D.C.?
And why, despite a 40 percent drop over two decades, are teen moms still far more common in the US than elsewhere across the developed world?
(And nope, it’s not that American teens have more sex. Many studies have found that US teenagers have less sex than compatriots in Europe.)
The answer, according to a study published today in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, may well lie in social inequality.
and policy-makers have known for decades that girls living in lower
socio-economic circumstances are more likely than their wealthier peers
to become pregnant. And anthropologists and social workers explain that
teens who experience “despair” are more likely to turn to motherhood as a
way to find meaning in a world where they see few other options.