The negative economic effect that teen pregnancy has on young mothers also impacts the nation’s economy as a whole, according to a report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Thirty four percent of young teen mothers earn neither a college degree nor a high school diploma, and less than two percent of teen mothers earn a degree by the time they turn 30. Because teenage pregnancy deters increased education, it leads to significant amounts of lost earnings, which negatively effect the economy as a whole, the study points out:
Nearly one-third of teen girls who have dropped out of high school cite early pregnancy or parenthood as a key reason. […] According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, it is estimated that over the course of his or her lifetime, a single high school dropout costs the nation approximately $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity. Put another way, if students who dropped out of the Class of 2011 had graduated from high school, the nation’s economy would likely benefit from nearly $154 billion in additional income over the course of their lifetimes.
The country’s lost earnings from an increased number of high school and college drop-outs are compounded by the estimated billions of dollars that teenage pregnancies cost taxpayers each year, mainly due to increased public sector health care costs.
Despite the good news that the U.S.’s nationwide teen pregnancy rate is dropping, the rates of teenage motherhood remain highest in states that promote abstinence-only policies. Ultimately, providing young women with insufficient and misleading information about their reproductive health has a dramatically negative economic impact on the nation’s teenage mothers and on the nation as a whole.