Bad news makes good headlines, so good news sometimes flies under the radar. It grabs people’s attention that young people are burdened with unprecedented debt, or that marijuana use is increasing. But many indicators of youth well-being are improving. Because I work on maintaining the Child Trends Databank, I see these hopeful trends every day, and think it is important to sometimes emphasize the positive ones.
Among the most well-known of these positive trends is the steady decrease in teen pregnancies and teen births. President Obama cheered this trend in his State of the Union Address in January. In 1990, teen pregnancies had hit a high of 117 pregnancies per 1,000 teens. In 2010, the rate was less than half that. Teen births show a similar trend, falling from 62 to 27 births per 1,000 teens between 1991 and 2013. This is a positive story because teenage mothers, compared with older mothers, are less likely to finish high school or go on to college, and more likely to be dependent on government benefits, especially in the first years after giving birth.
Teens are also less likely to die than in past decades. Read More