16 and Pregnant: Tough Times for Jamie and Ryan
May 04, 2011
Jamie: Good girl, straight-A student who fell for the bad boy. She was a senior in high school, on track for graduation, with aspirations of going to college when she got pregnant with her partying boyfriend, Ryan. Will she be able to maintain her good grades and go on to college? It's certainly possible, but the odds are more than against her. Girls who get pregnant before age 18 have a 2% chance of earning a college degree by age 30.
Like so many other teen couples facing parenthood, Jamie and Ryan break up around the same time that she has the baby (if that's not enough--he shows up at the delivery late and hung-over). This is an unfortunate reminder that 8 in 10 teen fathers do not marry the mother of their child. To much dismay, the statistics only get worse from here. Children who live away from their fathers are five times more likely to be poor than children who grow up with both parents. Their fathers are rarely able to pay into child support because they are often quite poor themselves.
Fortunately, Jamie has a supportive mother to help her down the difficult road ahead. Unfortunately, not everyone gets that lucky, and it is in those scenarios that the baby is at risk for growing up in a family that is not as healthy or successful as it could be.
Sarah Wilson is an intern for The National Campaign's Entertainment Media and Audience Strategy and Digital Media departments. She is a senior at the University of South Carolina, studying public health. Sarah has a golden retriever named Brady, named after none other than the Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady.