Teenage Fathers

When adolescents become parents in an early age (before they turn 21 years), it can have consequences for their educational opportunities and their market opportunities. Previous research has mostly focused on the consequences for the mothers, which in many countries are negative. We know less about what the consequences are for the fathers’ educational opportunities and market opportunities. Does it increase their participation on the labour market, for example because they must be able to support the child? Or does the fact that they became fathers preclude them from educational opportunities, which could secure a better and more stable job in the future?     

Time period:

2014 – 2016.

Target group:

Young men, who become fathers before they turn 21 years.     

Number of participants:

Approximately 300.000 men from register data from Danmarks Statistik, inclusive both men and women who turned 35 years between 2009 and 2014. 


Only around 5% of young Danish men become fathers before they turn 21 years. These men have more often done worse in public school compared to other men and they have more often grown up under inferior conditions. These background conditions can both be an explanatory factor with regard to the probability to become a father early, but they also influence the possibilities of the men later in life in a negative direction. If we compare the young men, who become fathers before they turn 21, with other men, then it appears that the young fathers on average do worse than others. Because the men were not similar, before they became fathers, there is a high probability that the differences are not solely caused by the fact that the young fathers became fathers. Therefore we need to find an analysis method, which makes the men more comparable.    


The effect of early becoming a father will be analysed with the help of register data and builds on a comparison across Danish brothers (with the same biological mother). The idea behind the analysis is that these brothers have been growing up under comparable conditions and they will therefore basically have had the same possibilities in life. The fact that one of the brothers became a father before he turned 21 years – while the other did not, can therefore be considered as a coincidence, given that there is controlled for other observable characteristics for the two brothers, so there would not be systematic differences between them.

The analysis compares the achieved level of education of the men, labour market activity, income and the likelihood of them living in a relationship, when they turn 35 years.


KORA, Spar Nord Fonden.


Expected in 2016.

Project group

Mette Verner

Professor with Special Responsibilities

Helena Skyt Nielsen

H bldg. 2621, 1c
P +4529216971
P +4529216971


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