The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has just released a study reaffirming past ones that show women of low social economic status are more likely to be unwed and conceive earlier than others.
In what they call a “cycle of despair“, they state the the despair and hopelessness that poor, young women face increases the likelihood that they will give birth at an early age outside of marriage.
They also state that less frequent use of abortion – likely from having less access – is an important determinant of this behavior.
Examining causes, the study suggests that low-income girls make decisions about childbearing and marriage based on their perceived (low) likelihood of achieving economic success.
Economic and societal conditions that generate a sense of despair among these girls will lead them to more often choose early, non-marital childbearing.
Their results suggest that inequality itself, as opposed to geographic factors, is a primary driver of this relationship.