Statistical information with reference to fertility patterns in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries reflect women marrying in their early twenties.

Census data of the nineteenth century shows evidence of few teen marriages, with the majority of women becoming pregnant in their twenties. Marriage before the age of eighteen was generally prohibited by state law for teens to marry without parental consent.

The majority of data on teen childbearing became available in the early 1900s when vital statistics information was published on a regular basis by the government. Records reflect a consistent pattern of adolescent pregnancy during half of the twentieth century. However, no specific information is available as to how many births occurred among women under the age of eighteen.

The number of teenage births increased during the post-World War II period. A sharp rise was seen in the number of teenage marriages and a decrease in the median age of women experiencing their first birth). Oddly enough, public concern about the problem of adolescent pregnancy did not surface until the late 1950s.

The paradox is that at this point, teen parenthood had begun to stabilize. Early literature does not reflect any negativism attached to teenaged childbearing, as long as the individual was married at the time of delivery.

Beginning in the fifties there are indications in the mass media and writings of various professionals on the “undesirable consequences” of teen marriages. Much of this negativism surrounding adolescent marriages and childbearing paralleled the dwindling teen job market and the expansion of educational training (high school and college).

Educational training on the secondary level was seen as the key to white collar jobs and the middle class. In the late fifties and early sixties there was much public concern regarding the issue of adolescent parenthood which was reflected throughout social as well as educational journals that lend themselves to a somewhat unfavorable projection of the adolescent parent at this time?

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