How Teen Pregnancy Affects Mississippi
Teen pregnancy not only affects the lives of the teenagers involved but also plays a significant role in Mississippi’s growing economy. According to LATimes.com, Mississippi, a state that has traditionally shied away from teaching sex education in the school system due to religious reasons, in 2011 had former Governor Haley Barbour sign a law that required schools in the state to adopt some sort of policy for teaching about sex. What caused this change of heart? Most likely it was not the shocking data found in 2009 that “the birthrate for women 19 or younger was 64.1 per 1,000 infants compared to the 39 out of every 1,000 nationally”. What provoked this call of action was the statistics which revealed how much money the state was losing due to its high teen pregnancy rate!
Since 2009, Mississippi teen births were said to cost the state over $154 million. This cost consist of but not limited to “lost revenue from lower wages among teen parents whose poor outlook usually resulted in public assistance, incarceration costs for the children of these teen parents, and foster care costs”. Not to mention, it becomes more difficult to attract businesses in the state with low educational levels (in part because these teens have left school). In order to attract these businesses in the future, Mississippi has to raise its educational levels meaning keeping kids in school for the full term. Not only businesses would benefit from keeping kids in school. If Mississippi can further reduce the teen pregnancy rate, counties in the state who spend a large portion of their tax payers’ money on teen parents can redistribute that money to other educational areas with more funding for preschools and local colleges or even spend the funds to hire extra police officers, teachers, and registered nurses.