Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More teenage pregnancy accompanies greater female power

Female decision makers vs Teenage pregnancy--Share

This link takes you to a scatterplot of a sample of countries that shows a close relationship between the percent of decision-makers who are females and the percent of 20 year old women who got pregnant as teenagers (R-squared = .69). I interpret this as greater power among women leading to greater general female autonomy and more promiscuous teenage girls. Your thoughts?


  1. bring on the female president. Armageddon is fine as long as im getting laid.

  2. Can't be causal, since the U.S. teen pregnancy rate has been falling since the late '80s / early '90s, all while female empowerment has been increasing.

    Also seems like empowerment was increasing since at least the '60s or '70s, and then the teen pregnancy rate was rising. So they're not related positively or negatively.

    And those are only 20 rich modernized countries. During the late Medieval period, the aristocratic European girls were married and having kids as teens, even though females weren't in charge.

    Same with Gypsies. Also same with hunter-gatherers. Although here there's no real government or civil society where females could be leaders, they still don't call most of the shots; they're lead more by men to the extent that anyone leads.

  3. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Is it related to the rise of welfare?

  4. Anonymous7:19 PM

    Italy has a super low pregnancy rate. As do Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and Poland. All traditional Catholic countries with patriarchal cultures.

    Greece is also pretty low too; and they are Orthodox and conservative Christians.

    In America, Mormon Utah has one of the lowest pregnancy rates.

    So I do think that conservatism, family control, and tradition can keep pregnancy rates under control.

  5. Anonymous8:53 AM

    Agnostic, the fact that teen pregnancy rates and "empowerment" don't rise and fall in lockstep doesn't mean there's no connection between them. Overall (and looking at more than one country), there seems to be.

    Your point about mediaeval teenagers in arranged marriages is irrelevant.

    As for causality, who's to say? Inductivist is hasty in assuming "empowerment" ---> teen pregnancy, at least by this definition of empowerment: the proportion of female "decision-makers". (Yeah, the quotes here are necessary because these are both such question-begging terms.)

    It could also be that women get chosen as "decision-makers" largely through formal or informal affirmative action in societies with liberal-left values. Those same values may undermine traditional sexual mores.

    In other words, we may not be dealing with cause and effect, but two effects with an unstated cause.


  6. Mormons have high teen-pregnancy rates because so many get married as teenagers. Blue states often have low rates because of their high rates of abortion.

  7. TGGP: I think you're talking about birth rates, not pregnancy rates.


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