Although the overall rate of teen pregnancy has been declining, the rates have remained high for teens that are most vulnerable. Canadians believe that teen pregnancies are a serious national problem. However, what causes these teens to become pregnant at such a young age? There are a number of factors that underlie teen sexual and contraceptive behavior, pregnancy, and childbearing. Among these many factors, which may lead to teen pregnancy, the four that are the root causes of early pregnancy are poverty, early behavioral problems, family problems, and a low self-esteem.
Some researchers feel that teenagers consider having a baby with the desire to become welfare dependent. These teens deliberately become pregnant and have babies in order to collect welfare and set up their own households. However, teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty than women who delay childbearing. Many pregnant teens believe that their babies will lead lives very different from their own. Poor, inner city, undereducated women who may live with drug addiction, violence, and a sense of hopelessness. Therefore they feel that by having a child it will improve their lives, when in fact they are only exposing their child to the same life they lead. In addition, poor teenagers are more sexually experienced than those of higher incomes, yet they use contraception less frequently and less successfully, and therefore they have higher rates of pregnancy. Chances of higher education and well paying jobs diminish significantly for teen mothers. The direct results of teenage pregnancy frequently include dropping out of high school, financial dependency, and lack of parenting skills.
For teens in abusive relationships, sexual and physical violence are often connected to pregnancy as well as teen women who often have a history of physical, sexual, and/or family violence. Teens who have experienced childhood or adolescent sexual abuse also have greater sexual vulnerability, which increases the risks of unintended pregnancy and further abuse.