For the past year, MSNBC’s “Elkhart Project” has been providing viewers and readers with a personal look at the impact of the economic downturn as experienced by the citizens of Elkhart, Indiana.
In the project’s latest article, MSNBC reporter Kari Huus wrote about the challenges facing 19-year-old Nate Howell and his pregnant girlfriend, 17-year-old Samantha Keith:
Now, facing parenthood, he and Samantha are in a tough spot — one that tends to come with a high price. Research shows that people who have children in their teens are less likely to get a high school diploma or go on to college. They tend to earn less in the working world, and children born to these teens struggle to keep up with their peers. For many, beating back poverty becomes the overriding concern.
“The data is overwhelming that teen pregnancy has a negative impact on education and employment,” says James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit. “While that is a problem during any economic cycle, it becomes even more of a negative during a recession.”
After declining for 15 years, the teen pregnancy rate is now on the rise in the United States, which has by far the highest rate in the industrialized world.