We often hear the political right bemoan the downfall of society’s morals and one of the litmus tests they often use for this is the so-called rise in the number of teenage pregnancies.
However, the teen pregnancy rate, defined as the percentage of overall teenagers who get pregnant, has not changed since the 1920s. Instead, what’s happened is that the percentage of children born to adult women has halved in that same amount of time.
So while you can statistically argue that the percentage of pregnant teenagers is larger in proportion to the percentage of pregnant adults in the last eighty years, the same number of underage girls are getting themselves pregnant as they have been over the last eight decades.
There are any number of reasons for this to happen, including the fact that the economics of the modern family are that both parents need to work to create the same amount of income as before, presenting less time to have kids, and that the tendency to decry the provision of birth control for teens has created no change in the number of teens who are getting themselves in trouble.