Almost one ten US men father children in their teens: studyThursday, June 14th, 2012
Nearly one in ten young men in America have become fathers before their 20th birthday, according a new study by think tank Child Trends.
The report, The Characteristics and Circumstances of Teen Fathers: At the Birth of Their First Child and Beyond, looked at figures from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth—1997, a nationally representative survey of U.S. youth who were between the ages of 12 and 16 on December 31, 1996.
The study found that almost one-half of the men who fathered a child as a teen have at least one more child by the time they are between ages 22 and 24, sometimes with a different mother.
Among former teenage fathers who had a second child by their early twenties, nine percent was with a second woman, illustrating “multiple-partner fertility.”
Thirty-two percent of the fathers in the sample had a second child by the time they were 22 to 24, another 17pc had three or more children by their early twenties, and the remaining 51pc still had only one child.
It also showed that most teen fathers were not living with the mother at the time their first child is born.
Only eight percent of the teen fathers in the sample was married, and 26 percent were cohabiting at the birth of their first child.
Twenty-six percent of fathers in the sample were married by ages 22 to 24, 28 percent were cohabiting, and 46 percent were neither. However, these estimates differ based on teen fathers’ union status at the birth of their first child.
Among fathers who were married or cohabiting at the birth of their first child, 39pc were married, 30pc were cohabiting, and 31 percent were not in a union by ages 22 to 24.
Among fathers who were not in a union at the birth of their first child, only 19pc were married, one-quarter (26pc) were cohabiting, and more than one-half (56pc) were in neither situation in their early twenties.
The report says that earlier research “suggests that subsequent births in adolescence and young adulthood decrease young fathers’ opportunities for educational attainment and economic stability”.
It also points out that multiple-partner fertility, which affected nine percent of the sample has been found by other research to affect parents, children, and families negatively, possibly resulting in even greater subsequent disadvantage for teen fathers and for their children.
by Tom O'Gorman.