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Age Differences Between Minors who Give Birth and Their Adult Partners

Laura Duberstein Lindberg, Freya L. Sonenstein, Leighton Ku and Gladys Martinez
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 29, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1997), pp. 61-66
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2953363
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2953363
Page Count: 6
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Age Differences Between Minors who Give Birth and Their Adult Partners
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Abstract

The role of adult men in adolescent childbearing has received heightened attention in recent years, and new policy efforts have focused on statutory rape laws as a way to reduce adolescent childbearing. Analyses of the 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey indicate, however, that these policies would not apply to most teenage births. Among mothers aged 15-17 who had a child in 1988, 27% had a partner at least five years older than themselves. In addition, since 23% of minors with older partners were married at the time of the infant's birth, 21% of babies born to unmarried minors were fathered by substantially older men. While births to young mothers and older men raise social concerns, these births make up a small share of all teenage childbearing: Only 8% of all births to 15-19-year-olds are to unmarried minors with a partner five or more years older.

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