The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy just released data announcing teenage pregnancy among non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks has declined by 52 percent among 15 to 17 year-olds and 36 percent among 18 to 19-year-olds making this a historic low.
In the African-American community, teenage mothers are a major factor contributing to the staggering percentage of single mothers.
In producing the film On My Own, I’ve discovered that mothers who start bearing children in their teenage years suffer greatly due to lack of education and other resources. Two out of three of the mothers in the documentary birthed their first child in their teenage years. These mothers faced struggles including: evictions, difficulty pursuing or completing their educations, maintaining a career, and living a cultured life all because of the high demands of motherhood, a role that is increasingly difficult when ill-prepared.
Not to mention, many are forced to depend on government assistance for substantial periods of times. The likelihood of the father, who is probably a teenager himself, accepting his responsibility is significantly lower than men more advanced in age. Adult men are most likely more accomplished and able to support themselves.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy attributed the teenage pregnancy decrease to increased and improved contraceptive use, fewer partners and other factors. However, circumstances such as a poor economy with social programs constantly on the chopping block, welfare reform, the uphill rise of the Black career woman, and a shift in anti-marriage ideology (women wanting their boyfriends to put a ring on it first) must also be taken into consideration.
Since the black family in the United States has been matriarchal in structure for significant time periods post-slavery, black women have observed their mothers struggle and now realize their desire to reverse the pattern.
During the interviewing process the single mothers talked about looking for love from a male figure to remove the abandonment void from growing up without fathers. They also mentioned their desire to become mothers believing the child will provide unconditional love lacking in their life. The pregnancy decline could also show that this fairytale mindset is decreasing among teenage black females.
This is definitely good news for the African-American community. Let’s keep talking to our daughters and sons, about being sexually responsible, practicing abstinence, and the importance of marriage. Relationships and families should be formed when women and men are mature enough to wisely pick a mate. Besides, how many people stay with their teenage love?
This positive data could play a significant role in decreasing single motherhood in the Black community in the United States. If there was any doubt that the Black Family could be fixed this national data proves that is an attainable goal.