In a new paper, Brookings Senior Fellow Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine of Wellesley College show that the MTV reality franchise, 16 and Pregnant, which includes the Teen Mom sequels, led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births, which accounts for about one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the 18 months following the show’s introduction in 2009. The shows followed the lives of pregnant teenagers during the end of their pregnancy and early days of motherhood. In the video below, Kearney reviews their findings, noting although the U.S. rate is going down, still three out of 10 girls in the U.S. will give birth before they are 20, twice the rate in Canada or Britain.
Kearney is also an associate professor of economics at the University of Maryland. Read and download the complete paper, originally published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Media Influences on Social Outcomes: The Impact of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant on Teen Childbearing.”