Volume 30 - Article 44 | Pages 1277–1292 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Adult outcomes of teen mothers across birth cohorts

By Anne Driscoll

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Date received:19 Aug 2013
Date published:24 Apr 2014
Word count:5824
Keywords:birth cohorts, socioeconomic status, teenage fertility
Additional files:readme.30-44 (text file, 1014 Byte)
 demographic-research.30-44 (zip file, 7 kB)


Background: Teen and young adult mothers have lower socioeconomic status than older mothers.

Objective: This study analyzes the socioeconomic status (SES) of teen, young adult, and older adult mothers across four five-year birth cohorts from 1956 to 1975 who were teens from 1971 to 1994.

Methods: Data were pooled from the 1995, 2002, and 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). Mothers were categorized by age at first birth and by their birth cohorts. The SES (education, single motherhood, poverty, employment) of teen, young adult, and older mothers was compared across cohorts and within cohorts.

Results: Among teen mothers, the odds of fulltime employment improved across birth cohorts and the odds of educational attainment beyond high school did not vary. Their odds of single motherhood and living in poverty increased across cohorts. The odds of higher education and single motherhood increased across birth cohorts for young adult mothers as did the odds of living in poverty, even if working fulltime. Among older adult mothers, educational attainment and the odds of single motherhood rose for recent cohorts.

Conclusions: Comparisons between teen mothers and both young adult and all adult mothers within cohorts suggest that gaps in single motherhood and poverty between teen and adult mothers have widened over time, to the detriment of teen mothers. Teen mothers have become more likely to be single and poor than in the past and compared to older mothers.

Author's Affiliation

Anne Driscoll - National Center for Health Statistics, United States of America [Email]

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