Teenage childbearing as a public issue

Stephanie Graham


“Teenage Childbearing as a Public Issue and Private Concern” by Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.



* In U.S. the issue has more to do with how our political culture has responded to ancillary problems than with the threat posed by teenage childbearing.


A. The Dawning of a Public Issue

  • After World War II parenthood was common in the teenage years.
  • 1957 Birthrate among teens stood at 96.3 per 100 women. Nearly 10 % of teens were giving birth each year.
  • Virtually no discussion of adolescent childbearing occurred in either popular or professional literature.
  • During the 60s fertility rates among older women were declining much more rapidly than were rate among women under age 20, which increased the proportions of births born to teens.
  • Larger number of pregnant women began to elect not to marry.
  • With decline of earning power of young black men, marriage became a distinctly less attractive option for young black women who became pregnant out of wedlock.
  • As marriage rates declined, non marital childbearing’s rates climbed rapidly among black teens.
  • During the 60s, children born to non-white teens were nearly six times as likely to be born out of wedlock than were the children of white teens.
  • The enormous disparities could be explained due to income, education and occupation.
  • In 2000 the ratio of black to white births have dropped three More