Teen Parenthood and Adult Civic Engagement: New Evidence from the NLSY97

Joseph J. Sabia, San Diego State University
Reggie Covinald, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Using data drawn from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), we examine the relationship between teen parenthood and four measures of adult civic engagement: charitable giving, volunteerism, political awareness, and voting. Ordinary least squares (OLS) and propensity score matching (PSM) estimates suggest that teen parenthood is associated with lower levels of civic engagement. Family fixed effects estimates show estimated associations that are smaller in magnitude, but do not rule out adverse civic engagement effects. Finally, when we compare adult civic engagement of teen mothers to women who became pregnant, but miscarried as teens, we continue to find that teen motherhood is negatively related to charitable giving, volunteerism, and voting. Our findings suggest that diminished leisure time and adverse income effects of teen motherhood may have important adverse consequences for civic engagement.

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Presented in Poster Session 4