- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2014

A new study says MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and its spinoffs may have reduced the teenage birthrate by nearly 6 percent.

The paper, set for release Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, argues the shows may have prevented 20,000 births to teen moms in 2010, The New York Times reported.

The TV show depicts young women who face the challenge of an unexpected pregnancy and then childbirth, while a separate show, “Teen Mom,” documents their early struggles with motherhood.

Researchers compared birth records to Nielson television ratings and found that reductions in teen pregnancy rates appeared to be correlated to higher viewership of MTV’s programs.

The Times says some episodes attract millions of viewers, although some critics say the program glamorizes teen moms and propels a select few into celebrity.