In 2008, 40 out of every 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth. By 2011, that number had fallen to 31 out of every 1,000. And according to a new study, the recent decline in teen births means we should all be thanking … MTV?
Wellesley economist Phillip B. Levine and University of Maryland economist Melissa S. Kearney recently conducted a study that showed how the decline in the U.S. teen birth rate accelerated between 2008 and 2011, and how shows such as MTV’s 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom played a crucial role.
For those who haven’t see the shows, each episode of 16 and Pregnant follows a different teen through her pregnancy, childbirth, and first weeks of parenthood. The show’s spinoff, Teen Mom, picks up with a handful of the new mothers and continues following them through their first months, sometimes years, of parenthood.
Levine and Kearney’s study found that the two series led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births. Therefore, the shows can account for about one-third of the decline in teen births for the year and a half after the shows were introduced. READ FULL STORY