Effects of Family Structure on Teen Pregnancies
Family intactness has the greatest attenuating influence of all explanatory variables investigated on teenage out-of-wedlock births, including in the case where income is controlled for.1) Earned income itself has no precisely determinable influence on teenage out-of-wedlock births.2)
Teenage out-of-wedlock birthrates are more sensitive to family intactness across the geographic areas studied than they are to high school graduation levels. This is additional empirical evidence that family is more important than formal high school education, including sexual education, in influencing levels of teenage out-of-wedlock birth.
Increasing the fraction of the population that is black enhances teenage out-of-wedlock births in an area. This presumably illuminates a social phenomenon in this sub-population. Increasing the fraction of the population that is Hispanic has no determinable influence on teenage out-of-wedlock births in an area.
The large enhancing influence of an area's minor dependency ratio on teenage out-of-wedlock births can be partially interpreted as an effect of a low level of adult care.3) However, a higher ratio of minors to adults means, proportionately, a higher ratio of teenager births to adult births, all or other things held constant. Furthermore, in controlling for minor dependency, the model induces reverse causality: more teenage out-of-wedlock births increases minor dependency. Because of this, the level of influence of minor dependency on teenage out-of-wedlock births is overstated.4)