Analyses based on a sample of 2,795 women interviewed annually from 1979 through 1991 in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth show that early childbearing lowers the educational attainment of young women. After controls for an extensive set of personal and community characteristics are taken into account, having a child before age 20 significantly reduces schooling attained by almost three years among whites, blacks and Hispanics. Having a child before age 18 has a significant effect only among blacks, reducing years of schooling by 1.2 years.
PIP: The authors present new estimates of the relationship between teenage childbearing and educational attainment. The analyses are based upon a sample of 2795 young women interviewed annually over the period 1979-91 in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Subjects were 1445 whites, 906 blacks, and 444 Hispanics aged 14-20 in 1979, except for those in the special military subsample or the oversample of economically disadvantaged whites. Controlling for an extensive set of personal and community characteristics, researchers found that childbearing as a teenager lowers the educational attainment of young women. Schooling attained among whites, blacks, and Hispanics was reduced by almost three years among those who bore a child before age 20. Having a child before age 18, however, has a significant effect among only blacks, reducing years of schooling by 1.2 years. Other recent research has reported that the social and economic effects of teenage childbearing are not as great as early studies of the relationship between teenage childbearing and adult outcomes had suggested. The results of this study, however, suggest that such revisionist findings are open to challenge.