Exhibit A

Exhibit A

This ad, which has been widely covered in the news media, is perhaps the most blatant misuse of statistics of all of the ads. Its message that children are less likely to graduate BECAUSE they were born to teen mothers is simply not a fact. There is a correlation–one that is more likely about poverty and access than about teen childbearing itself–but there is no evidence of causality.

Here’s the actual (more nuanced) research finding:

“43% of children of a teen mom (age 17 or under) fail to graduate high school by age 19
compared to 20% who fail if their mother was over age 22 when she gave birth.”

Source: Manlove, Terry-Humen, Mincieli, and Moore (2008). Outcomes for Children of Teen mothers from Kindergarten through Adolescence. In S. Hoffman and R. Maynard (Eds.) Kids Having Kids: Economic and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy (pp. 161-196). Washington, D.C. The Urban Institute Press.

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