TV Lowers Birthrate (Seriously)

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, March 20, 2014

In the struggle to break cycles of poverty, experts have been searching for decades for ways to lower America’s astronomical birthrate among teenagers.

We’ve tried virginity pledges, condoms and sex education. And, finally, we have a winner, a tool that has been remarkably effective in cutting teenage births.

It’s “16 and Pregnant,” a reality show on MTV that has been a huge hit, spawning spinoffs like the “Teen Mom” franchise. These shows remind youthful viewers that babies cry and vomit, scream in the middle of the night and poop with abandon.

Tweets containing the words “birth control” increased by 23 percent on the day after each new episode of “16 and Pregnant,” according to an analysis by Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland and Phillip B. Levine of Wellesley College. Those tweets, in turn, correlate to increased Google searches along the lines of “how get birth control pills.”

Kearney and Levine find that regions with a higher audience for “16 and Pregnant” and the “Teen Mom” franchise had more of a drop in teenage births. Over all, their statistical analysis concludes that the shows reduced teenage births by 5.7 percent, or 20,000 fewer teenage births each year. That’s one birth averted every half-hour.

To put that achievement in context, I’ve been fulminating about the teenage birthrate for years, and I don’t think I’ve averted a single birth.

{snip}

Kearney and Levine, both economists, are experts in why teenage birthrates are so high in America (one factor: teenage births reflect poverty as well as transmit it to the next generation). Girls in the United States are almost 10 times as likely to have babies as Swiss girls, and more than twice as likely as Canadian girls. In no other developed country are teenagers as likely to get pregnant as the United States.

But here’s the good news: Teenage birthrates have plunged by 52 percent since 1991–one of America’s great social policy successes, coming even as inequality and family breakdown have worsened. The steady drop in teenage births accelerated greatly beginning in 2009, when MTV began airing “16 and Pregnant.”

“It’s another reminder that great storytelling can be a powerful catalyst for change,” says Stephen K. Friedman, the president of MTV. By all accounts, the MTV shows worked because they focused on compelling stories, not on lecturing or wagging fingers.

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Pro_Whitey

    Unfortunately, I bet a lot of that drop is among whites, who can actually figure out how to use birth control. Norplant for knee grows!

    • baldowl

      Well, really, if the drop is amongst the groups of whites who’d be watching trash like “Sixteen and Pregnant” (who are, realistically, also available to have sex outside their race), I say it’s no big loss. As a race we’re being pared down, sure, but I prefer to see it as sublimation.

  • Puggg

    “16 and Pregnant” shows almost all white lower class teenagers.

    It would have been interesting for the AmRen staff to have a sidebar or a footnote about the racial differences in teenage pregnancy.

    • IstvanIN

      It would be huge.

  • Every 7th, 8th, and 9th grader Mexican in south Texas is pushing a baby stroller. It’s part of the Mexican family values system–you start your family early and without a husband.

    A Mexican male acquaintance, working at a high paying government job, once told me his proudest accomplishment was that his daughter got through high school without getting pregnant. Contrast that to the white mentality of real accomplishment.

    BTW, white blogger Viking Bitch advocates that white girls do the same as the Mexicans since we’re in a numbers race with them. We must outbreed them if our race is to survive.

    • I became a father at 41.

      • RealisticGuy

        I became a father in my early 20’s.

        Not sure if would have preferred waiting. The longer you wait, the fewer you can have, but the more ready you are.

        You’ve gotta say for the Mexicans, they are rapidly growing.

    • Zaporizhian Sich

      Here and there, even among the non-whites, some at least buck the norm for animalistic behavior that is the norm for them.

    • Alexandra1973

      I was 28 and my husband was 35 when our son was born, we’d been married 8 years at that point.

      I was born out of wedlock myself, but my mom was 23, she married my stepfather who then adopted me, so I at least had two parents.

  • IstvanIN

    Blacks and Mexicans don’t watch MTV. The Mexicans watch Univision, and you should see the whores, or at least whoreishly dressed woman, on that station. The blacks are “at da club”.

    • Sick of it

      They’re busy doing the jobs white Americans won’t do (like making babies).

    • baldowl

      The blacks watch BET, which is all sex, violence, and victim mentality, except on Sunday mornings, when it’s the most pious station on cable. Don’t you be gettin’ yo’ blessins?
      I work with a black guy who professes to be a devout Christian. He’s always got his Christian music playing in the office. He’s very demonstrative in the blessing of his food and the praising of Jesus for all his fortunes. For a long time, I’d thought I’d found the proverbial good one.
      Last month, he and some friends vacationed in Jamaica, while his wife stayed home with their children. Upon his return, he confided to me, as if I’d be impressed, that he’d had his d*** sucked every single night, by a different woman each time.
      And he also told me, as if I would be able to reconcile his conflicting characteristics the way he does, that despite all his partying he’d never neglected his morning Bible study.
      THEY ARE NOT LIKE US.

      • Whitetrashgang

        Save me Jebus save me.

        • baldowl

          I suppose Christianity holds a special allure for people who continually sin.

          • Alexandra1973

            There’s this:

            Romans 6:1-2 (KJV) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

            God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

            Going to church and living a hedonistic lifestyle is like going to AA and not fully realizing that your drinking is a problem…you haven’t addressed it.

  • Zaporizhian Sich

    If it truly was going to do any good, it would scare them into keeping their legs shut, waiting until they get married.

    • Alexandra1973

      Exactly. And we all know that no method of contraception is 100% reliable. And it’s like playing Russian roulette–even with birth control, the more you have sex, the more likely you’ll experience a failure.

      • Zaporizhian Sich

        Well there’s two form of contraception that are proven to work, and anyone over the age of twelve knows what they are.

    • Anna Tree

      Once upon a time, stigma was enough… I wish for many other stigmas to come back as well.

      city-journal org/html/10_4_bring_back_stigma.html

      “”Judgmental” people find themselves condemned with a vehemence that would have gone down well in Salem. Those who live by the old morality end up paraded with abusive labels: if you deplore illegitimacy and the welfare dependency that often follows it, you show yourself to be “mean-spirited” and lacking in “compassion”; if you oppose the normalization of homosexuality, you are “homophobic”; if you believe in Western culture, you are an “elitist”—all labels that can damage a professional career. Stigma floats free in the anarchic world of individualist life-styles, ready to attach itself to anyone who stands up for self-restraint.”

      On another issue:
      “It is in this context that we should understand political correctness. The new kind of stigma creates a new kind of fear. Political correctness is not a morality in the traditional sense: it does not require you to change your life, to make sacrifices, or to live by an exacting code of conduct. It tells you to watch your language, so as to avoid the only prevalent adverse judgment, which is judgment of the adverse judge. It tells you to speak inclusively of other cultures, other life-styles,
      other values: never take a disapproving stance or use words that might imply one. Hence the extreme volatility of the new speech codes. Any phrase or idiom that seems to imply judgment of another category or class of people can become, almost overnight, an object of stigma.”

  • So CAL Snowman

    “Kearney and Levine, both economists, are experts in why teenage
    birthrates are so high in America (one factor: teenage births reflect
    poverty as well as transmit it to the next generation). Girls in the
    United States are almost 10 times as likely to have babies as Swiss
    girls, and more than twice as likely as Canadian girls. In no other
    developed country are teenagers as likely to get pregnant as the United
    States.”

    Oh please this is a demographic problem. How many developed countries have 45 million blacks and 50 million brown hispanics? Oh yes the average Swiss girl is the exact same as your average ghetto black or barrio brown. I also love how this article celebrates the increase in teenage girls taking and researching birth control. What a victory . . . for the pharmaceutical companies. If they were truly concerned about teenage pregnancy they would insist that MTV be kicked off of the airwaves as it promotes nothing but sex and miscegenation 24/7 (except when 16 and Pregnant is on, apparently). When Miley Cyrus is simulating sex with Robin Thicke during an MTV “music” awards show, it’s kind of hard to take this article seriously.

  • Who Me?

    I graduated from high school, and got married a week later. I was 17 years old. Our daughter was born 23 months later, just before I turned 20, so I was TECHNICALLY a “teen mother” even though I was married. I wonder what category they put me in. My husband and I are still married to each other, and VERY proud of it. We raised 2 fine children, a girl and a boy, and have 5 little blue-eyed, blonde grandchildren!

    • Alexandra1973

      My hat’s off to you. 🙂

      I’m assuming they mean unwed teen mothers…nowadays it’s unusual for teens to marry unless the girl’s pregnant.

      I believe teens nowadays are irresponsible because they’re expected to be. Even college is considered to be “extended adolescence.” Kids need to be taught how to be responsible early on.

  • M.

    On that, I’m with birth control. Babies shouldn’t be made by accident, but should rather be planned and well thought out.

    That being said, every racially conscious white person should make as many babies as (s)he financially can. For a financially stable person, five is the ideal number. Which will be the minimum number for me provided I keep my job. Even if I don’t, I’ll start a business, figure out something. But again, I stress on the financial stability. Making babies while poor is stupid.

    The excuse number 1 for Western nations to welcome more immigrants is the low birthrates, and businessmen keep hammering on that, and pressuring governments to accept more immigrants as the Western birthrates are at a historical low:

    ————————————————————————————————————————-
    “Immigration has historically been critical to Canada’s growth, yet there has seldom been a time in our history when it has been so important.

    Our competitive advantage can’t be driven by the resource industry, and is no longer dominated by capital assets like plants, equipment and machinery.

    It is being driven by human capital.

    But Canada is a small nation. Our national birth rate just hit an historic low, and our workforce is aging. Clearly, if we are to succeed at home and abroad, we’re going to have to import talented people to make up the gap. We are already facing a skills shortfall in many parts of Canada and in the years ahead, we will be counting on immigration for all of the net growth in our labour force.

    But there’s going to be a global war for talent. Countries like Italy, Spain and Germany are seeing birthrates fall as dramatically as ours, and a workforce going gray as quickly as ours. We’ll be going head-to-head with them for talent, as well as with powerhouses like China and India, who are literally pouring investments into higher education, technology
    and innovation.

    For every one engineer graduating in the United States, there are three graduating in China. And many Chinese immigrants are now moving back to China, because they see better opportunities at home than here.

    In Halifax, this situation poses a serious economic risk: you face a shrinking workforce, a smaller business-economic base, and a declining tax base. There is no question that this will have a significant economic impact on the rest of Nova Scotia, and on all of Atlantic Canada—a point clearly raised in the GHP strategy.

    The Canadian government has set a target of welcoming 300,000 new immigrants to our shores each year. Right now, new Canadians make up about 70 per cent of the growth in the Canadian labour force. But by 2011, they will account for all the growth in our workforce.

    Halifax alone has set an aggressive target of attracting 2,800 newcomers annually, and, more importantly, keeping 70 per cent of them here. ”

    — Gordon Nixon, CEO of RBC Financial Group, October 12 2005, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    http://www(dot)rbc(dot)com/newsroom/20051012nixon(dot)html
    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    And he’s right. The birthrates are at a record low in all of the Western world. If you want the economy to grow, someone has to keep it running. The white man isn’t replicating himself anymore, and people who are replacing him to keep things running are those who come from countries that still do.

    I was thinking… There are about 200 million white people in the U.S. If every white American woman were to have 4 children in her lifetime, there would be 400 million white people in the country in just 30 years. Then, even the most pro-immigrationist wouldn’t dream of pretexting workforce and pensions to bring in non-whites.

    If white people would start having more children, the third-worlders wouldn’t dream of escaping their mess through immigration, but through the more rational way of lowering their birthrates so it fits their wealth and the rate at which they create it. He who creates the most wealth shall be the most fruitful, shall multiply the most, and shall prevail. That’s the natural way.