In this brief, author Jessica Carson maps the distribution of children living with young adult parents, describes their parents’ characteristics, and details ways to strengthen policy supports that can fortify their families’ ability to succeed. She reports that while fewer than 5 percent of children live with young adult parents (age 18–24), the share among children age 0–3 is 16 percent, and among low-income children that age, it is 25 percent. Low-income young adult parents have different characteristics than their older counterparts; for example, they are more often parenting their first child with no co-parent present, and they have higher rates of school enrollment. Policies that support families headed by young adults should engage “whole family” approaches, for example, connecting the youngest children with quality care while preparing their parents for successful careers.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Winter 12-12-2019


National Issue Brief No. 145


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



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