Data Point: Half of 20- to 29-year-old women who gave birth in their teens have a high school diploma

Publication Date:

Jan 11, 2018

Young adults from 20 to 29 years of age who gave birth in their teenage years are less likely to hold a high school diploma or GED, relative to their counterparts who did not have a teen birth. Overall, 53 percent of young women who gave birth as teens received a high school diploma, compared with 90 percent of those who did not. However, women who had a teen birth were much more likely to have a GED (17 percent) than women who did not (4 percent).

Breaking this number down by race and ethnicity, African American teen mothers are most likely to have a high school degree (62 percent), followed by whites (53 percent) and Hispanics (47 percent). White 20- to 29-year-olds who were teen mothers, however, are more likely to have received a GED (24 percent) than their black and Hispanic counterparts (11 and 8 percent, respectively). In comparison, Hispanic women who had a teen birth were more likely to receive no educational credential: 45 percent received neither a diploma or a GED, compared with 27 percent of African Americans and 22 percent of whites.

Educators are critical partners in reducing teen pregnancy rates and connecting pregnant and parenting youth to the services they need to continue their education. School-based prevention efforts should include a combination of strategies to improve student engagement, including instruction on healthy relationships and sex education. It is also critical to help young mothers stay in school. This means identifying child care options, providing emotional support as girls navigate both motherhood and their relationships with the fathers of their children, and connecting young mothers with financial resources.