Allow me to tell about teenagers and Older Partners

by Michael Males, Ph.D. May-June 2004

This paper includes the following sections:


Federal Government and non-government entities have characterized pregnancy that is”teenage and “teenage motherhood” as major social dilemmas in america. The 400,000 to 500,000 women under age 20 whom become moms every year within the U.S. have actually often been “blamed” for causing immense social expenses, including greater general public welfare expenses and negative results for his or her young ones (Maynard 1997; National Campaign 1997). However, claims that young ones of teenage mothers suffer or create greater costs that are social to young ones of older moms from comparable socioeconomic backgrounds have already been disputed in current reports (Cohen et al 2002; Hotz 1997, 2000).

Preventing teenage pregnancy is understood to be a target of a few federal government ( e.g., Federal workplace of Adolescent Pregnancy tools — OAPP) and non-government organizations ( e.g., The nationwide Campaign to stop Teen Pregnancy — NCPTP). But, overview of the information presented because of the NCPTP (1997) demonstrates that males age 20 and older, maybe perhaps not teenage men, daddy the big greater part of births to moms under age 20 (an projected 280,000 associated with the 430,000 births in 2002). Nevertheless, this important reality creates only sporadic attention through the major businesses associated with preventing teenager pregnancy. In addition, the fact older lovers are implicated generally in most other negative intimate results, such as for example abortions and sexually transmitted infections (STIs, including HIV), among teens has gotten which has no conversation.

Most of the major companies and fundamentals focused on teenage maternity (for example., Kaiser Family Foundation, 1998) try not to point out this problem after all, although some (Planned Parenthood 2004; Alan Guttmacher Institute 1999; nationwide Center for Policy research 2001) cite it just in moving, with little touch upon its implications. Even less discussion surrounds the fact that a surprisingly large proportion of births fathered by teenage males (about 40,000 yearly) include lovers over age 20. Finally, when it comes to youngest moms of many concern to policy manufacturers, those under age 15, about six times more infants are fathered by guys over age 20 than by peer boys (National Center for Health Statistics 1908-2003). After having a flurry that is brief of activity and policy proposals when you look at the mid- and late-1990s, curiosity about the problem of older partners in teenage maternity and childbearing has waned quite a bit.

Look at the after:

  • “Teenage girls with older lovers are more inclined to become pregnant compared to those with partners closer in age,” Planned Parenthood (2004) reported. Further, girls who have a baby are more inclined to have the infant instead of get an abortion if their lovers are older (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994).
  • A present research found that 6.7 % of women aged 15-17 have actually partners six or maybe more years older. The maternity price with this team is 3.7 times up to the price for all partners that are whose a maximum of couple of years older (Planned Parenthood 2004; Darroch et al., 1999).
  • Teenagers whom date older lovers had a lowered odds of constant contraceptive usage. A partner is older than the respondent, the likelihood of always using contraception decreases by 11 percent for each year. (In this research, on average, very very first partners that are sexual twelve months more than the respondent.) Son Or Daughter Styles (2004).

The predominance of older, adult lovers can be an uncomfortable subject to raise and an arduous anyone to deal with by policies or education programs. But, it will not be dismissed being an unimportant element in that which we call пїЅteenageпїЅ sexuality and childbearing. In reality, it might be an essential adjustable. This version of ReCAPP will make an effort to explore this problem more completely along with offer some practical ideas for addressing it.

“Teenage” Pregnancy and Childbearing: A Precise Explanation?

“Teenage childbearing” is described as a birth to a mother under age 20 no matter what the age of the daddy, and пїЅteenage pregnancyпїЅ likewise is defined because of the chronilogical age of the feminine just. Within the popular imagination, and sometimes in formal and system portrayals aswell, it really is conceptualized being a maternity and/or childbirth brought on by “teenage guys and girls” of highschool or more youthful age (men & Chew 1996; Landry & Forrest 1995).

Regardless of depiction that is popular of” maternity as a conference involving two teens, top data indicate that around two-thirds of this male lovers of teenage females and one-fifth of this feminine lovers of teenage men are avove the age of age 20. It doesn’t matter what age limit is cited as defining “teenage pregnancy” and childbearing (”teenagers” under age 20; “adolescents” under age 18; or females underneath the “age of consent,” — 16 generally in most states), the majority that is large of intimate lovers may be avove the age of that age limitation.

The many years of male partners in abortion results are not quite as an easy task to determine; the information that is scant indicates teenage ladies are notably prone to keep consitently the infant whenever their lovers are older, which means that pregnancies ending in abortion will likely include more youthful guys than pregnancies closing in childbearing (Alan Guttmacher Institute 1994).

Historic Context

Historically, reproduction by teenage females with older (often much older) men is a normative pattern. Initial nationwide birth registry statistics (1921) addressing over fifty percent the country’s populace stated that 91% of dads of infants created to moms ages 15-19, and 70% of these to mothers many years 10-14, had been over age 20. Age gaps between partners were quite big only at that time, averaging seven years. In reality, one-third regarding the dads of children of moms ages 15-19, and 29% of children created to mothers under age 15, had been age 25 or older.

The percentage of births to teenager moms fathered by guys over age 20 dropped gradually, to 88% in 1940, 85% within the 1950s, and a minimal of 66per cent within the very early 1970s. Today, about 50 % regarding the births to mothers that are teen men ages 20-24, and an extra one-sixth are over age 25. Despite its long history and prominence in vital data reports, the fact adult males father the big most of children created to teenage moms came as a surprise to scientists within the 1990s who’d thought the dads had been predominately teenage males (Landry & Forrest 1995).

With regards to current styles, Ca (the state of Ca should be used for example throughout this paper) data indicate the sheer number of teenage births involving maried people and ones involving two teenage lovers declined the essential rapidly during the last 12 years. Married teenagers are more inclined to have paid off their fertility throughout the ten years if their partners additionally had been teens. For unmarried partners, there was clearly a smaller decrease in births, in addition to chronilogical age of the partner would not appear to impact the trend much. The 3 tables below summarize these data.