Having a baby as a teenager does not affect women’s
educational and employment achievements later in life, but it does
increase their chances of poverty by making it less likely that
they will have a partner with a job, according to new research.
The study, by researchers John Ermisch and David Pevalin at
Essex university’s Institute for Social and Economic
Research, compared girls who became teenage mothers with girls who
had become pregnant as teenagers, but had a miscarriage.
They point out that other comparisons, such as comparing teenage
mothers with other women of the same age, are likely to be
misleading because women who become teenage mothers may have had
different educational or employment outcomes even if they
didn’t have a baby.
They found that having a teen birth had little impact on the
qualifications, employment or earnings of women at age 30, nor the
chances that they had a live-in partner.
But the partners of women who had become teenage mothers were 20
per cent less likely to have a job and 20 per cent more likely to
have no education beyond age 16. Having had a teen birth also made
it substantially less likely that a woman and her family would be
home owners by age 30.