Teen Mothers:

Selected Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Risk Factors

HEHS-98-141: Published: Jun 30, 1998. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1998.

Additional Materials:


Bernice Steinhardt
(202) 512-3000


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided social and demographic information about teen mothers, focusing on: (1) trends in birth rates for teens; (2) a profile of teen mothers; and (3) factors, such as education or family background, that may influence the likelihood of teen motherhood.

GAO noted that: (1) although the birth rate for teenage women decreased 41 percent from the late 1950s to 1995--paralleling the decline in the U.S. birth rate--the number of babies born to teenagers is still high; (2) births to unmarried teenage mothers, however, more than quintupled as a proportion of total teen births over the same period; (3) as of 1995, the teen birth rate was about 57 per thousand; however, rates varied considerably by subgroup; (4) the birth rates for black and Hispanic teenage women are more than twice those for white teens; (5) in 1995, nearly half of teen mothers were white and most were aged 18 to 19 and unmarried; (6) about two-thirds of recent teen mothers did not intend to get pregnant or have a child; however, about one-fifth of women who gave birth already had one child; (7) teenage mothers also graduate from high school at lower rates than all teen women; (8) 64 percent of teen mothers complete high school, compared with about 90 percent of all teen women; (9) research studies that have examined the antecedents of teen motherhood have shown that limited involvement in school and some family background characteristics--such as family instability and declines in family income--are associated with increased likelihood of teen motherhood; and (10) the effect of most factors varies among racial and ethnic groups.

Jul 9, 2020

Jun 17, 2020

May 7, 2020

Apr 13, 2020

Feb 26, 2020

Dec 19, 2019

Dec 4, 2019

Oct 9, 2019

Jul 25, 2019

Jun 24, 2019

Looking for more? Browse all our products here