WHY IT MATTERS
The Taxpayer Cost of Adolescent Childbearing in Dallas County, Texas, Anita Vasudevan, Courtney Peters, Terry Greenberg, Cathy Day, Nora Gimpel
Child poverty in Dallas is unsettling: as Table 1 indicates, approximately 4 out of 10 Dallas children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty guidelines (Kids Count 2013). In fact, between 1980 and 2010, poverty in Dallas County neighborhoods increased 242% (Kids Count 2013). 63% of teen mothers receive some type of public benefit within a year of their child being born (The National Campaign 2012).
Education of Teen Parents
Educational attainment of teen parents, particularly the mothers suffers: Educational attainment is linked to higher income and improved quality of life, yet only 2% of teen mothers receive a college degree by age 30, significantly diminishing their opportunities to rise out of poverty (The National Campaign 2012).
The relationship between poverty and school readiness is very clear: the college readiness rate of low income Dallas students is six times lower than their more affluent peers (Commit! 2015). Adolescent childbearing is directly related to poor early childhood outcomes. Adolescent parents are more likely to live in impoverished neighborhoods and attend a low performing school. This leads to a lower chance of graduation, yet this parent is still responsible for teaching a new child the skills that lead to school readiness. With this dynamic, success is often unlikely. This cycle leads to decreased educational attainment and continual poverty, which burdens our community, our economy, and our taxpayers.