The Hillsborough Community Atlas presents information on births to teens under 18 years old (ages 17 years and younger). Other sources on births to adolescents use different age range categories. (See "Additional Information" section at the end of this report for resources using different age range categories.)
Teen mothers are more likely to drop out of high school than girls who delay childbearing. A 1997 study showed that only 41 percent of teenagers who have children before age 18 go on to graduate from high school compared to 61 percent of teens from similar social and economic backgrounds who did not give birth until ages 20 or 21. With her education cut short, a teenage mother may lack job skills, making it hard for her to find and keep a job. A teenage mother may become financially dependent on her family or on public assistance. Teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty than women who delay childbearing, and over 75 percent of all unmarried teen mothers go on welfare within five years of the birth of their first child.
A child born to an unmarried teenage high school dropout is ten times as likely as other children to be living in poverty at ages 8 to 12. Children of teenage mothers are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade in school, and are more likely to perform poorly on standardized tests and drop out before finishing high school.
In Florida, this data is regularly collected and maintained by the State's Department of Health.
The birth data statistics presented are calculated spatially by first geocoding the addresses of the birth mothers. Geocoding involves matching a physical address to a digital reference layer, such as a roads or parcels layer, in GIS. Geocoding rarely results in a 100% successful matching rate and this holds true for the data being presented here as well. Residency addresses provided by the birth mother were geocoded directly by the Florida Department of Health. The percentage matched is typically very high (around 90%) and while this number serves as a very good representation of the birth trends within the county it is important to note that the data presented here is a sample of the true total number of births.