MTV makes a difference

“16 and Pregnant” contributes to teenage birth rate decline

Ivy Kaplan

When many people think of teenage pregnancy, they associate it with a negative stigma. However, many of these teenage moms voluntarily help lower the rate of teenage pregnancies around the world today.

A recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research found MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” helped reduce teenage birth rates following its introduction.
The show documents the period of a teenage mom before, during, and after birth, according to MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” website.

Some critics of the show believe it encourages teenage pregnancies by promoting them to viewers. However, the data suggests the opposite.

According to the study, when the show first premiered in 2010, it resulted in a 5.7 percent decline in teenage births within the following 18 months, accounting for approximately one third of the total decline of all teenage births within the United States at the time.

The study shows after the episodes aired, internet searches and social media spiked, with people searching and tweeting the terms “birth control” and “abortion,” spreading awareness to those who do not watch the show.

Teenage pregnancy also impacts high school graduation rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 50 percent of teenage mothers in the United States receive a high school diploma before reaching 22 years of age. This contrasts the 90 percent graduation rate among non-teenage mothers.

Additionally, the show inspires teenagers to continue their educations, contributing to an increase in education across the nation.

Finally, the show provides teenagers with a new insight into teenage pregnancy. Schools teach about teenage pregnancies and their disadvantages, but the show allows viewers to see the consequences firsthand.

Before people judge the teenagers on “16 and Pregnant,” they should consider the situations they are in and their impact on the continued decline of teenage birth rates, as well as their potential to increase graduation rates among high school teens.

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