Any discussion of minority teenage fathers should begin with several statistics and some background information to define the problem. According to Susan Killheffer of Planned Parenthood in New Haven, most recent statistics show that teenage pregnancy represents 18% of total pregnancies within the city. In 1990 there were 457 teenage pregnancies among which 288 were from African-American females.
Figures such as these confirm a trend toward increasing sexual activity involving teens that we as teachers of middle and high school students have observed for sometime. Dr. James P. Comer of the Yale University Child Study Center says “the exploding population of African-American Children from single Parent homes represents the education crisis that is going to kill us.” (Ingrassia 15)
The children of teenage parents usually live their lives as part of a single-parent family. Unfortunately many of these parents are poor women.
Washington D.C. - 50% of the household consist of single-parents, 89% of which are headed by poor women.
Detroit. Mich. - 55%. of household consist of single-parents, 84% of which are women. (Brown 12)
Hamden. Conn.- 57% of the children are from a single-parent household. (Thomas 5)
Black families nationally - 50% ( up from 23% in 1967) are now headed by single women.
If the single-parent-trend continues, half of all children born in the U.S. last- year (1993) will live with a single parent by the time they are 1S years old.(Hodgkinson 16)
Black children today are more likely to be born into poverty, lack early pre-natal care, have a single mothers and/or unemployed parents.
Single parent families are a product of economic factors with a long history. The historical background of the economic status of African-American has been a mixture of highly visible improvements and persistent problems. Substantial gains in academic achievements during the 1970’s greatly increased the size of the black middle class. By the mid 1980’s a majority of African American families earned more than $15,O00 a year and over 20%. had annual incomes higher than $35,000. Despite these advances the median family income of all blacks remained at less than three-fifths the median family income of whites. (Dickey 138}