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The Review of Black Political Economy

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 37–53 | Cite as

Labor market segmentation and relative black/white teenage birth rates

  • Elaine McCrate
Articles

Abstract

Teenage mothers typically have lower educational attainment than other women. Most observers have argued that this is a major reason for their greater risk of poverty. This article takes the opposite view: that circumstances associated with poverty contribute to a greater likelihood of teenage childbearing. In particular, poor educational quality and the chances of secondary sector employment are more common for black women, regardless of their age at first birth. Hence the payoffs to education may be quite low for these women, which may be the reason for early motherhood. This argument is presented in terms of segmented labor market theory. Data to support it is presented from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Other common explanations of teenage motherhood are critiqued.

Keywords

Labor Market Black Woman Teenage Mother National Longitudinal Survey Woman Worker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Birth rates for the youngest adolescent women remain small for both blacks and whites: the black birth rate for 10 to 14-year-old girls varied between 4.1 and 5.2 births per 1,000 from 1970 to 1986, and the white birth rate for this group has remained at 0.5 or 0.6. National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics,”Monthly Vital Statistics Report 37:3 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988.)Google Scholar
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    All results are derived using the sample weights supplied by the Center for Human Resource Research, the home of the NLSY. (These weights adjust mostly for the oversampling of black and economically disadvantaged white youths, and for sample attrition.) The results reported here are for non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic/nonblacks (predominantly white, although other ethnic groups were difficult to identify).Google Scholar
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    Because there is so much employment change among young people and because the youngest workers are the most likely to be in secondary jobs, I also examined the distribution of women workers aged 25–29 only (not shown). There was no significant difference in the results.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine McCrate

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