Young single mothers and ‘welfare reform’ in the US

Christine Carter McLaughlin and Kristin Luker

in When children become parents

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9781861346780
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304272 | DOI:
Young single mothers and ‘welfare reform’ in the US

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This chapter discusses the emergence of teenage pregnancy as a social problem in the US, paradoxically at a time when teenage pregnancy is declining. It presents statistical data on adolescent birth rate, teenage pregnancy rate and abortion rate; these sets of data indicate that the fall in teenage pregnancy is most likely due to improved contraceptive use rather than a corresponding decrease in the frequency of intercourse among sexually experienced teenagers. This chapter also discusses the sociological explanations of teenage pregnancy, as well as the current policy initiatives that have been put in place to help adolescent mothers. The discussions in this chapter further indicate that the ideology of welfare dependency has prevented the development of comprehensive policy responses to teenage pregnancy.

Keywords: USA; adolescents; teenage pregnancy; social problems; birth rate; pregnancy rate; sociology; mothers

Chapter.  9020 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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