WHY IT MATTERS
The high teen birth rates in this City coexist with other factors which impact areas of the greatest inequity, Southern Dallas and West Dallas. This should not be surprise to those working to reverse the legacy of systemic racism in Dallas.
It is complicated, but teen pregnancy is a part of a bigger picture, one that exacerbates the cycle of poverty.
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.