Facebook Pixel

Low-Income Kids Having Sex at Twelve

 
Rate This

Tina Jordahl, a market research specialist with Hospice of Central Iowa and Brenda Lohman, an associate professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University, have co-authored a study that shows that low-income kids are having sexual intercourse at 12 years old on average.

The study surveyed nearly 1,000 low-income families in San Antonio, Chicago and Boston: findings revealed that some kid have had sex as early as 8 or 9. Overall, boys reported having sex at an earlier age than girls, at an average age of 12 compared to 13. The authors provide a number of reasons for why low-income children are likely to get involved in early sexual activity: instability in homes, welfare and the education of parents could be risk factors that contribute to the issue. Surveys revealed that low-income adolescents were less likely to be sexually active at a young age if their parents had a technical degree or higher, instead of just a high school education.

Low-income communities are not necessarily provided with adequate resources and education regarding sexual health. Families that are burdened by financial troubles or are not necessarily better educated, may not have the time or means to guide their children about sexual health and sexual activity. Issues such as reasons for not having sex, sexually transmitted diseases, the risks of being sexually active or even relationship issues, may not come up, leading to low-income adolescents having sex at an earlier age than their middle class counterparts.

The study is troubling and reminds us just how important it will be for the federal government to push for effective and comprehensive sex education programs that are available for low-income schools and communities. The study is also a reminder that adolescents do have sex, perhaps even at a younger age than their parents may believe. It would have been interesting to survey just how in-the-know parents were of their children's sexual experience and to compare the reality with what they believed.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Sexual Health

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Related Checklists

Sexual Health Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!