Teen pregnancy can result in a young girl’s education being put on hold indefinitely. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational levels are related to both earnings and unemployment. Teens who are pregnant may be more worried about how to tell their parents, and what everyone else will think, and not looking at the long-term consequences. They may have to request maternity leave from school, and from a part-time job. Teens who keep their babies and do not find a way to finish their education will not be able to continue onto higher education, which will provide them with more job opportunities, higher salaries and greater job security.
Teen pregnancy, which can hinder employment opportunities, is back on the rise. Modern teen pregnancy was at a peak during 1990, according to the Guttmacher Institute’s U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics. Between 1991 and 2005 teen pregnancies decreased by 18 percent according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Teen pregnancies increased in both 2006 and 2007, according to National Vital Statistics Reports.
Keeping a Job
An employed teen girl may not be able to keep her job while she is pregnant, depending on the nature of the work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common jobs for teen girls include food service, retail sale and cashier jobs. Because most of these jobs involve standing for long periods of time, a pregnant teen may not be able to keep her job in the last trimester of her pregnancy. Within the first two years following her baby’s birth, one out of every four teen mothers who is younger than 18 will become pregnant again, according to the National Campaign.
Education and Earnings
According to annual statistics gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, education level has a direct correlation with a person’s potential earnings. High school drop outs have the lowest earning potential. Pregnant teens are more likely to drop out of high school than other teen girls, according to the March of Dimes. According to the National Coalition, 40 percent of pregnant teens never finish high school.
Even if the young mom earns her G.E.D., her potential to earn money will still be dwarfed by the higher salaries of community college graduates, four-year college graduates and women who earned advanced degrees, according to BLS data.
Unemployment and Poverty
The numbers do not paint a pretty picture of job opportunities for teenage moms. Teens who drop out of high school are more likely to live in a state of poverty and live on welfare before their child reaches age 5, according to the National Coalition. Teen moms without a high school diploma will have limited skills and experience. Teens who can find jobs which accommodate their parenting schedule can expect to make an average annual income of $19,169 according to U.S. Census Bureau data for 2004.
Continued sexual education and promotion of contraceptive use is one way to continue to prevent teen pregnancy. Teen pregnancy decreased between 1995 and 2002 according to the Guttmacher Institute, because more teens were using contraceptives, specifically condoms. Educating young women about the financial consequences and limitations placed on job and career opportunities may also help. Supporting a pregnant teen’s decision to put up her baby for adoption will also improve her job opportunities.