Teen Pregnancy and Education

It is important that young people in South Carolina succeed in school so they can thrive as adults. Unfortunately, becoming pregnant (or getting a partner pregnant) makes it hard for teens to do their best in school. Preventing teen pregnancy is one key factor in making sure that teens have the opportunity to achieve success in school. Conversely, school failure and disconnection from school are important risk factors for becoming pregnant as a teen. Helping teens get involved and succeed in school can reduce the likelihood of teen pregnancy.

The importance of school engagement. Youth who are not engaged in school are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that can lead to teen pregnancy.  Teens who are engaged in school become sexually active later and are less likely to become pregnant in their teens, while students who drop out of school are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors and become pregnant. 

The link to drop-out.  Teen pregnancy is a leading cause of high school drop-out.  In fact, only 51% of young women who become mothers as teens get their high school degree by the age of 22 compared to 89% of young women who were not teen parents.

The outcomes of the child. Negative outcomes from teen childbearing also weigh on the child as children of teen mothers are less prepared to enter the school system and score lower on measures of school readiness.  Plus, they are 50% more likely to repeat a grade, less likely to complete high school, and have lower performance on standardized tests.