“Current trends indicate that by the year 2015 – some studies project as early as 2000 – one of every two American babies will be born to a single mother, and illegitimacy will surpass divorce as the main cause of fatherlessness.” Jennifer Marshall, Sanctioning Illegitimacy: Our National Character is at Stake, Family Research Council. 3/28/97
“Nearly one-fourth of America’s children live in mother-only families.” Arlene F. Saluter, Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1994
Hamilton County and Tennessee Facts and Figures
In Hamilton County, teenagers aged 10 to 19 accounted for 700 pregnancies in 1999. 412 of those pregnancies were to Caucasian teens and 288 were to African-American Teens. Tennessee Department of Health
In 1998, 35 percent or 1,320 children were born outside of marriage in Hamilton County (total births were 3,768). Data collected from area hospitals by First Things First.
In 1998, 13.6 percent of all the babies born in Hamilton County had mothers under the age of 18. Hamilton County Health Department
In 1999 42.3 % of the births in Hamilton County were to unwed mothers. Tennessee Department of Health
Tennessee was ranked as the third state with the worst percentage of single parent families. Only two states ranked lower. The rises in divorce and out of wedlock births are pointed to as the cause of such a poor ranking. 1995 Kids Count Data Book
The non-marital birth rate in Tennessee increased 252 percent from 1962 to 1994. The State of the Child in Tennessee, 1995, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth Report
Hamilton County Youth Behavior Risk Survey
The 1998 Hamilton County Youth Behavior Risk Survey conducted by the Community Research Council found that:
58 percent of area ninth through twelfth graders said they had ever had sexual intercourse, compared to 53 percent statewide and in the U.S.
13 percent of these teens said they had had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13 (10 percent statewide, 9 percent nationwide).
39 percent said they had had sexual intercourse in the past three months, compared to 38 percent state- and nation-wide.
22 percent said they had had four or more sexual partners (20 percent statewide, 18 percent nationally).
56 percent said they had used a condom during last sexual intercourse (55 percent statewide, 54 percent nationally).
9 percent said they had either been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant (8 percent statewide, 7 percent nationally).
53 percent of the cost of AFDC, food stamps, and Medicaid is attributed to households begun by teen births. Kathleen Sylvester, “Preventable Calamity: Rolling Back Teen Pregnancy,” Progressive Policy Institute Policy Report, No. 22 Nov. 1994
It is estimated that illegitimate births cost taxpayers $2.2 billion in welfare and food stamps each year. Rebecca Maynard, Kids Having Kids
80 percent of teenage mothers end up in poverty and reliant on welfare. Maynard, Kids Having Kids
Approximately 30 percent of all welfare recipients start because they have an out-of-wedlock birth. Michael Tanner, CATO Congressional Testimony, March 9, 1995
Half of unwed teen mothers go on welfare within a year of the child’s birth. Within five years 77 percent of these mothers are still on welfare. Michael Tanner, CATO Congressional Testimony, March 9, 1995
Nearly 60% of all teens who become pregnant are living in poverty at the time of giving birth. National Vital Statistics, 1998.
It is estimated that during the first 13 years of parenthood, adolescent mothers earn an average of $5,600 annually, less than half of the poverty level. Teen mothers have a 50 percent chance of becoming dependent on welfare. More than any other group, they have a tendency to stay in the system for long periods of time. Maynard, Kids Having Kids
Tennessee was ranked as the fourth state with one of the worst child poverty rates in the nation. The child poverty rate in the state was 18.1 percent in 1998 with 261,675 living in poverty. National Center for Children in Poverty, 2000
Among teens 15-17 years old, 46% of those with family incomes below the poverty level are at risk for unintended pregnancy vs. 33% of those with a family income of two times the poverty level or more. Kids Count 2000
Fathers who do not marry the adolescent mothers of their children have income sufficient to contribute support but only 15 percent of adolescent moms are ever awarded support. Kids Having Kids