• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • FamilyFacts.org: More Than Half of U.S. Teens Have Remained Sexually Abstinent

    Despite the prevalence of TV shows detailing the tawdry lifestyles and nonchalant hook-up scene of the supposedly typical American teenager, more young people are choosing to remain abstinent. According to a recent report from the National Survey of Family Growth, more than a quarter of young men and women between 15 and 24 years old report never having had sexual contact. Likewise, as shown in new charts on FamilyFacts.org, more than half of all U.S. high school students report remaining abstinent, an 18 percent increase since the 1990s.

    The increase in purity’s popularity may be credited in part to strong families. Teens from intact, married families are less likely to be sexually active and also less likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, exhibit poor social behaviors, or participate in violent crimes. Consistent parental involvement, especially from fathers, is also related to decreased likelihood of teen pregnancy.

    These and other social benefits of intact families are at risk in future generations, however. While teen pregnancy rates are on the decline, the number of unwed births continues to increase. Of the four in 10 children born outside of marriage today, over 60 percent are to mothers in their 20s. With more women putting childbearing before marriage, a greater number of children will be left without the economic advantages or social guidance that tends to come from married families.

    Policymakers can help avoid some of the consequences of unwed childbearing, however, by encouraging marriage and promoting policies that recognize the integral role of healthy, intact families on the social and economic well-being of children and adolescents.

    Read more about abstinence trends among teens and emerging adults here.

    To learn more about the role of family and religious practice in maintaining limited government and civil society in America, visit FamilyFacts.org.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    One Response to FamilyFacts.org: More Than Half of U.S. Teens Have Remained Sexually Abstinent

    1. Blogoftheque, Denver says:

      A recent report from the CDC shows that states that have comprehensive sex-education programs in schools have lower teen pregnancy rates than those states that emphasize abstinence-only programs. A report from the Guttmacher Institute shows that the five states with the highest teen birth rates (Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) stress abstinence as “sex education”, while the four states with the lowest teen birth rates (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont) do not require “teaching” abstinence (Lillis, 2010). Lillis quotes Leslie Kantor, the national education director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as she said the report “makes it crystal clear that the teen birthrate is lower in states that provide students with comprehensive, evidence-based sex education”.

      The increase in unwed births to women in their 20s could be a societal shift in the public’s view of marriage, and could definitely be attributed to the increasing rates of divorce. Some parents do not feel that marriage is absolutely necessary, but it does not necessarily mean that fathers are unavailable to children who are born to unwed parents. The rise in unwed babies of women in their 20s may be unrelated to the decrease in teen pregnancies.

      The article by Mike Lillis can be found here:


    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.