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The Intersection among Unintended, Premarital, and Teenage Childbearing in the U.S.

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionBarber, Jennifer S., and Amie Conley (Emens). 2006. "The Intersection among Unintended, Premarital, and Teenage Childbearing in the U.S." PSC Research Report No. 06-608. September 2006.

Unintended births are sometimes confused with premarital, teenage births, assuming that those who “accidentally” become pregnant and give birth are mainly teenagers. Data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth were used to examine the distribution of pregnancy intentions for all births from 1997 through 2002 by marital status, age, education, and income. Analyses show that the bulk of unintended births occur to women in their twenties; teens account for relatively few unintended births. In terms of marital status, unintended births occur nearly equally to married and never married women. The majority of unintended births occurs to women with relatively little education and lower income. Overall, however, unintended births occur to all groups in society. Because of this diversity, it is unlikely that a single prevention approach will be effective. Researchers must focus on the multitude of causes of unintended childbearing and design multi-pronged intervention strategies targeted to specific groups.

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