Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 647–661 | Cite as

The Probability of Teenage Parenthood: Parental Predictions and Their Accuracy

  • P. Wesley RoutonEmail author
Original Paper


Teenage parenthood is an often-discussed topic in family economics since it has been shown to affect many outcomes for the teen, child, and household. Using a nationally representative longitudinal panel of American teenagers and their parents, two questions related to the probability of teenage parenthood are examined. First, how do predictions of this occurrence made by the teenager’s parents vary across the population? Second, how does the accuracy of these predictions vary? The actual prevalence and variance of teenage parenthood are also examined, and the determinants of its occurrence are estimated. Among other results, expectations and their accuracy are found to differ substantially across socioeconomic status and some demographics such as race and religion. The average American parent underestimates the probability their child will become a teen parent by only a small amount, but within certain demographic groups this outcome is considerably underestimated, and in others it is overestimated. These differences help explain the variability in teen parenthood effects, and more broadly, the analysis serves as a test of parents’ ability to judge their childrens’ future outcomes.


Teenage parenthood Teen parenthood Parental expectations Prediction accuracy Teenage pregnancy Teen pregnancy 

JEL Classification

D19 D84 J13 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflicts of interest.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessGeorgia Gwinnett CollegeLawrencevilleUSA

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