Editor’s Note: All statistics can be found verified using the links at the bottom of the article.
The face of teenage pregnancy has become a diversified collection of races and gender as shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager and 16 & Pregnant have revealed the challenges and successes that both teen mothers and fathers of all backgrounds face. Still when many hear the term “baby mama” they assume that the reference is to a young black woman complete with a baby stroller, public assistance and a dim if not non-existent future.
What you may not know is that the teen pregnancy rate among black teens has declined 44% and the teen birth rate has declined 47%. This means a good portion of our teens understand the value in waiting to become parents, if not waiting to become sexually active entirely. What it doesn’t mean is that our jobs as parents and mentors are over as 50% of African-American girls in the US will become pregnant before their 20th birthday.
ESSENCE magazine recently teamed up with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy for an unprecedented survey of 1500 black youths, ages 13-21 to better understand their attitudes about sex, relationships, values and the media. The survey titled, “Under Pressure: What African-American Teens Aren’t Telling You about Sex, Love and Relationships” also highlights the progress the black community is making with helping our teens make better decisions about sex while shedding some light on where the missed connections lie when it comes to preventing unplanned pregnancy and educating them about safer sex.
If you’re not talking to your teen about sex, you better believe that they are learning about it from someone or something, and unfortunately many of these sources don’t always provide the healthiest or most accurate information. Check out the following list of some key sources that the survey revealed influences the sexual decision-making of African-American teens as well as some other important key findings: