Virginity Pledgers Have Lower Teen Pregnancy Rates (3/04) updated

ADOLESCENTS WHO TAKE VIRGINITY PLEDGES HAVE LOWER RATES OF OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHS — about 40% less likely to have a child out of wedlock when compared to similar young women who do not make such a pledge [recently released data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health – Add Health].     These findings are sustained when background factors are held constant.   Originally a survey of junior high/high school students funded by the Dept of Health and Human Services/other federal agencies, it began asking youth in 1994 whether they have taken such a virginity pledge. These students were tracked through high school and into early adulthood. By 2001, most of the youth in the survey were aged 19-25, old enough to evaluate the relationship between pledging and a number of social outcomes. Some 1.35 million children are born out of wedlock annually, representing roughly one-third of all births in the USA. Children raised by single parents are 7 times more likely to live in poverty than are children raised in intact homes, and they are much more likely to be dependent on welfare programs and to suffer from a wide range of other social maladies.2  Some 14% of young women who had taken a virginity pledge had had a child out of wedlock. This compares with 29% among those women who had not taken a pledge. In other words, the out-of-wedlock childbearing rate among women who had taken a virginity pledge in their youth was 50% lower than that of women who had not taken such a pledge. In this statistical procedure, girls who took a virginity pledge were...